TURKEY – Firefighter squads using 10 helicopters and 177 fire engines managed to contain a forest fire in the western province of Çanakkale on Aug 11 after nearly 12 hours of efforts.
“The fire has been brought under control and quenching works are being carried out,” said the head of the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s department in charge of the historical Gallipoli war zone monuments and cemeteries.
“No damage on any graveyard, war battlefield, trench line or foreigner cemeteries were reported. The historical area is open to visitors,” he added, referring to the Gallipoli Historical Area of the Çanakkale (Dardanelles) Wars of WW I.
A forest land of 100 hectares was damaged in the fire which erupted at around 22:25 p.m. on Aug. 10. The flames spread quickly with high winds around the Behramlı village in the district of Eceabat.
“The area is a former war zone still having ammunitions, and we heard of some explosions. We have confirmed those reports of explosions,” said Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli.
Another blaze on the Marmara Island near the northern end of the Çanakkale Strait on Aug. 12 posed a threat to the residential areas.
Fire fighters immediately rushed to the Mestanağa neighborhood to counter the flames as a helicopter was dispatched by the regional directorate of forestry.
“One helicopter remains incapable. We don’t know the situation of the barns and animals on the upper lands,” Marmara island Mayor Süleyman Aksoy told state-run Anadolu Agency, stressing that the strong winds increase the risks.
Firefighter squads were also dispatched from Istanbul’s Maltepe district to Burgazada, one of the Princes’ Islands, to counter a forest fire reportedly damaging a one-hectare land.