Muğla, Turkey — Some 663 hectares of forest were destroyed in 347 forest fires in Muğla and surrounding districts this year that cost TL 36 million to fight, said İbrahim Aydın, Muğla Forest District Manager.
Aydın spoke about the work to fight forest fires to Muğla Governor Ahmet Altıparmak and the press.
“Last summer was quite arid because of the deepening affects of global warming. This is very risky in terms of fighting forest fires. We were on alert all summer long. We extinguished the fires effectively and fast. The most frightening fire for us was the Yılanlı fire that seriously threatened forest teams, technical staff and a reporter,” Aydın said.
Stating that there had been an average over the last 10 years of 250 forest fires in Muğla every year, Aydın said, “This year 86 percent of the fires took place between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. in August. July, August and September and these are the risky times in terms of forest fires.” Aydın said forests in Muğla are observed 24 hours a day by 38 fire towers. “We have initiated a new fire watching system this year. We can see smoke and fire immediately using four cameras. This facilitates us to send the nearest team to the spot very fast. The system detects fire in 25 seconds at the most.”
“Some 1,780 fire workers and 280 technical staff worked fighting fires in 2008. The military forces also helped us with the big fires. The total cost of fighting these fires amounted to TL 36 million, TL 7 million of which was the cost of airplanes, TL 23 million for employee salaries and TL 6 million for other expenses. Our target is to make Muğla the fire base of the Aegean region.”
“Tourists visit the region because they love natural beauty, the forests and the historical and cultural features. We should do our best to protect these values. We will reward our friends who succeeded in fighting the forest fires,” said Altıparmak.
Altıparmak later gave letters of appreciation to 15 people, including İbrahim Aydın and Beril Kayaöz, Namnam Forest Management chief.
After the meeting, the tenders for fire equipment and water to fight forest fires were disclosed to the press.