Turkey — The Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya will soon become a firefighting and training base for responding to wildfires in Mediterranean countries, Forestry Directorate General Manager Osman Kahveci announced yesterday.
The “fire base” in Antalya will be designed to improve cooperation between the region’s countries in fighting forest fires, Kahveci told the Anatolia news agency. “We are starting the process of cooperation among Mediterranean countries against forest fires in our region. We are planning to set up a large training center. We have planned the budget already. This center will be a base for training and also for operations by firefighting personnel from countries that are in the same climate zone as us,” he explained.
Kahveci said the center would also encourage the exchange of experience in training and firefighting between regional countries. He added that such cooperation had already been started with France and that his directorate’s teams will soon be in France to examine that country’s fire-fighting bases.
Antalya will be hosting the first installment of a new annual symposium on fighting forest fires between Jan. 7 and 10. The symposium will also host an exhibition of tools used in firefighting.
Causes of forest fires, the ecological effects of fires, statistics about forest fires, protection against and prevention of fires, visual fire monitoring systems, meteorological warning systems and training of firefighting personnel and local area residents will be discussed at January’s fire conference.
Hatay forest fire spreads
A forest fire that broke out on Saturday in southern province Hatay’s Samandağ and İskenderun districts continues to spread due to strong winds.
The forest fire, which started on in area of 1.5 square kilometers on Saturday, has spread out over 300 acres of forestland, burning brush and Calabrian pines around Samandağ and İskenderun. Firefighting teams could not take action against the fire yesterday due to strong winds and the slope of the land. Hatay Governor Nusret Miroğlu stated that strong winds prevent aircraft from responding to the raging blaze. “Unfortunately the fire is continuing to spread further,” he said.
Teams of firefighters from the neighboring provinces of Kilis, Osmaniye, Adana, Mersin and Kahramanmara? have also arrived in the region to support local firefighting teams. Officials said more than 200 firefighters, 100 villagers and 200 gendarmes, along with 35 fire trucks are endeavoring to contain the fire. Since the land is steep, firefighters are having difficulty controlling the fire.