Forest fire destroys six hectares of land in Datça

Forest fire destroys six hectares of land in Datça

21 August 2011

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Turkey — A forest fire sparked by contact between energy transmission lines was finally extinguished by firefighters Sunday morning after it burned six hectares of forest in the Aegean province of Muğla’s Datça district.

The fire began at 11:30 p.m. Saturday near Datça’s Sındı Village, Örenciki, in an area containing clusters of pine trees on steep mountain slopes before spreading across the difficult mountain terrain. Officials, meanwhile, expressed thanks that favorable wind directions prevented the flames from coming into contact with ammunition stored at a nearby military base.

“It was very difficult to intervene against the fire because it was on harsh and mountainous terrain. It was also down to sheer luck that the wind was blowing upwind from the military ammunition depot; otherwise, a serious explosion would have occurred,” Marmaris Forest Management Director Özkan Şahin said. Several firefighting teams from the Marmaris Forest Management Directorate were dispatched to the area after the first call from villagers. The fire rapidly spread over a wide area due to prevailing high winds.

Efforts to douse the flames were also hampered by darkness, which kept water bombers grounded until 6:30 a.m.

“Sunday was fought with five helicopters, two planes, 45 water sprinkler trucks, 16 technicians, nine first-response vehicles, 320 forest workers and numerous villagers. Six hectares of forest were destroyed. Our biggest luck was the light wind in the final hours of the fire, although Datça is known for its high winds. If we had strong winds, the pine forest would have been entirely destroyed,” Şahin said.

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