Turkey — Thousands of hectares of forestry were destroyed over the summer months again as forest fires continue to be a tough opponent for authorities nationwide despite a strong decrease in their frequencies.
Records show a strong drop in the number of fires between 2012 and 2013, with 159 fires recorded by the end of May of 2013 and 224 fires in the same time of the previous years, according to the Turkeys Forestry and Water Affairs website.
Over 20 forest fires broke out just on Aug. 31, nearly all put out or taken under control, with forest fires breaking out in the early days of September as well, the ministry said, while adding that the efficiency in dealing with forest fires has intensely increased over the years with new technologies and new training courses.
Still in the face of strict measures, forest fires continue to dominate summer months, even witnessing increase in rates in certain regions. Aegean region, according to daily Hürriyet, remains to be one of those regions that experienced a rise in the frequency of forest fires, with Çanakkale- Balıkesir district seeing the highest increase.
Increase in rates
According to daily Hürriyet, 68 fires broke out in that part of the Aegean region by the end of August, burning through 2.239 hectares of forestry, with last years numbers showing only 52 fires and 184 hectares of destroyed green.
The increase could be caused by a change in the meteorological conditions of the region as the rising heat due to the climate warming subsequently have a negative impact on the occurring of forest fires., according to a ministry official.
Just weeks back, a fire that broke out in the southern province of Hatay in the early hours of Aug. 5 took nearly two days for authorities to put out, with over 700 hectares of calabrian pine forest destroyed in the meantime.
A thousand hectares of forested area have been destroyed in the Kepsut district of Balıkesir, after firefighters finally managed to bring a fire, which began in July 30, under control after three days.
The ministry encouraged all citizens to be extremely sensitive towards calling in the authorities, highlighting the significance or early detections in the fight against forest fires.
59 percent of all forest fires in Turkey are caused by accidents or cases of neglect, with 20 percent breaking out for unknown reasons, according to official numbers.