Turkey–– A forest fire broke out on Monday in the Samandağ district of the province of Hatay and has destroyed about 300 hectares of forestland so far, according to initial reports.
The fire is believed to have been started deliberately by unknown persons at 11 different locations in the forest. Antakya Forest Operations Manager Mehmet Harbi told reporters that they had determined this much, confirming previous claims that the fire was deliberately lit to some degree. Harbi added further that the fire threatens three residential areas.
With the help of two firefighting planes and three helicopters, numerous water-tenders and several fire engines, 200 firefighters and about 250 villagers are working to bring the fire under control , says Harbi, but the fire is continuing to spread due to strong winds. Stating that necessary security measures are being taken around the fire, Harbi stated that they expect to bring the fire under control soon.
The police have detained 16 people suspected of involvement in arson.
Several other forest fires also began on Monday, affecting dozens of hectares in various provinces across Turkey.
One forest fire erupted in the district of Bodrum, Muğla province, at 7.00 p.m. The fire reportedly covered 20 hectares of forestland. Muğla Forest Operations Manager Ali Yıldırım announced on Tuesday that the fire had been extinguished with the help of two firefighting aircraft, four helicopters, 57 water-tenders, five bulldozers and 300 firefighters, and that cooling efforts are underway in the area.
A total of 25 hectares of agricultural land, including several olive groves, was destroyed in a fire in the Kuşadası district of Aydın. The fire was extinguished with the aid of two helicopters and firefighting teams.
A fire broke out in the forested area of Ayazağa in the Şişli district of İstanbul. The fire was extinguished easily in a short time. Officials claimed that the fire might have been the result of arson.
Another forest fire broke out in the Osmaneli district of the province of Bilecik. The fire expanded over a large area in a short period of time but was extinguished on Tuesday.
Two hectares of forestland were destroyed in forest fire in the Havran district of Balıkesir. Many wild animals and the bees housed in 18 beehives reportedly perished in the fire.