Forest fires have reached populated areas near several tourist sites in southern Turkey, killing four and causing the evacuation of dozens of villages, Turkish media reported Thursday (July 29th).
Separate fires that broke out in the forests of Manavgat, Alanya, Adana, Mersin, Bodrum and Marmaris, near tourist sites in southern Turkey, quickly reached populated areas in due to strong winds.
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The fires have killed four people, including a 25-year-old man who was traveling to a devastated site in Marmaris to provide aid, according to NTV television. Dozens of houses, fields and stables in several villages were ravaged by the flames.
"According to initial information, 150 cattle and a thousand sheep perished, 600 hectares of agricultural land and 50 hectares of greenhouses were damaged,"
Turkish Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said Thursday.
The first fire broke out on Wednesday in a forest in Manavgat, Antalya province, spreading to neighboring communities.
Faced with the progression of the fire, the authorities evacuated dozens of villages.
A hotel in the tourist town of Bodrum was also evacuated.
Images of people in panic running for their lives on streets lit by flames were broadcast by Turkish media.
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Heavy clouds of smoke blanketed a dark orange sky above a beachfront resort in the town of Manavgat.
Some 183 people, mostly affected by the fumes and three suffering from burns, were hospitalized.
Ten people stranded aboard a boat on a lake surrounded by fire were rescued Thursday by rescue teams.
More than 4,000 firefighters, helped by helicopters and planes, try to control the flames.
The fires are raging with temperatures approaching 40 degrees and wind gusts of 50 kilometers per hour.
Faced with the appearance of several fires at the same time, the Turkish authorities say that a criminal origin cannot be excluded.