Academics to issue report on causes of Antalya wildfire

Academics to issue report on causes of Antalya wildfire

18 August 2008

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Turkey — A scientific report to examine the extent of the damage caused by a forest fire in the southern province of Antalya that began at the end of last month and lasted for six days is being prepared by a group of professors from Antalya’s Akdeniz University.

The report will be a guide for officials in their reforestation efforts, shedding light on issues such as what kind of trees to plant in which areas and which materials to use in rebuilding village houses to make them fire resistant.

The report will include suggestions such as training farmers to prevent bushfires by plowing fields after harvest instead of providing villages with enormous water tanks to put them out.  The group that will prepare the report is composed of eight professors and associate professors in the fields of agriculture, environmental engineering and biology under the leadership of Akdeniz University Rector İsrafil Kurtcephe. The report will be delivered to the Antalya Governor’s Office.

Kurtcephe said the fire, the biggest ever seen in Antalya, came at a time when the effects of global warming are becoming more prominent. “We thought about what we could do after such a disaster, and we saw that there are many things that we can do. We have numerous units conducting research on the environment. We are examining the area.”

The professor also said their findings would make scientific contributions to rehabilitating the area. Kaşan pointed out that the Antalya Forestry Directorate is responsible for 155,000 hectares of land and that 60 percent of the trees in this area are red pines, which are more susceptible to fire than other types of trees. Noting that Antalya is a high-risk area for forest fires, he said the affected land must be reforested.

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