17 forest fires destroy 503 hectares in one day

17 forest fires destroy 503 hectares in one day

25 August 2009

published by www.todayszaman.com

Turkey — A series of forest fires that broke out in 17 areas across Turkey on Sunday, destroying 503 hectares of forest and cultivated land, had been contained by midnight on Sunday.

Seven of the fires broke out nearly simultaneously, according to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, making it more difficult to control the flames. However, thanks to an early warning system that enables the containment of fires more quickly, the incidents did not result in any deaths or damage to residential areas, stated Environment and Forestry Minister

Veysel Eroğlu on Monday.

One fire broke out in İzmit’s Derince district on Sunday afternoon, spread by strong winds, and was brought under control at midnight on Sunday, Kocaeli Governor Gökhan Sözer said. Roughly 170 hectares of land were destroyed in Kocaeli. Firefighters are still working to put out the blaze. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

A fire that started in an area of dry grass near Yalova’s Armutlu district on Sunday afternoon and then quickly spread to the nearby Calabrian pine forest due to strong winds has reportedly been put out completely. The fire affected some 200 hectares, including 150 hectares of Calabrian pine forest. As flames closed in on two vacation villages, the houses were evacuated on Sunday evening, but the residents returned at midnight after the fire was contained. One of the villages was reportedly partially destroyed. Firefighting teams are now working to cool down the area.

Another fire broke out in Denizli’s Başkarcı town on Sunday afternoon and scorched 20 hectares of forest. The fire was brought under control before reaching the forestland on Başkarcı Mountain. Launching an investigation into the cause of the fire, gendarmes detained a father and son on suspicion of arson. Emir Dudu Değmeci, 70, a homeowner in the region close to where the fire broke out, reportedly said his grandson saw two strangers close to the fire area.

Three forest fires broke out in Antalya’s Serik, Alanya and Gazipaşa districts, burning 25 hectares of forest in total. The causes have yet to be determined. The fire that started in Serik was contained before it reached homes, laying waste to 20 hectares. Another fire that erupted in Alanya was contained within two hours. In Gazipaşa, one hectare of Calabrian pine forest and 200 decares of cultivated land were destroyed in a fire fanned by strong winds, but the fire was eventually put out by firefighters. Gazipaşa Governor Muhittin Pamuk reported that flames reached three houses located close to the forest and were completely destroyed.

A fire was sparked in an afforestation area located between Bursa’s Büyükorhan and Balıkesir’s Dursunbey districts on Sunday and spread due to wind. The villages of Kuzköy and Tezlik were evacuated as a precaution when the flames got close to homes. The Dursunbey-Harmancık highway was temporarily closed to traffic. The fire, which destroyed 30 hectares of forestland, was extinguished. Officials believe that the fire was caused by a spark from the railroad located near the afforestation area.

In the meantime, another forest fire that began Monday afternoon in Antalya’a Kumluca district was fanned by strong winds. Efforts to extinguish the fire continue.

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