Firefighters in Turkey tirelessly battle forest fires amid heatwave

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Entornointeligente.com / Turkish firefighters, locals and volunteers work at full pace to bring the blazes under control in four southern provinces, with at least eight people killed since the wildfires started on July 28. Works to extinguish the fire near Cardak neighbourhood of Manavgat district of Antalya, Turkey continue on August 03, 2021. (AA) The Turkish government has said a vast majority of forest fires that have ravaged the south of the country for almost a week have been contained as wildfires continue to burn in Mugla, Isparta and Antalya.

At least eight people have been killed and hundreds wounded, with firefighters working tirelessly for a seventh day on Tuesday to bring the blazes under control. All but 10 of the 154 fires that threatened towns and cities have been contained.

With officials investigating the cause of the forest fires that have hit the country amid a brutal heatwave, villagers in hard-hit Antalya's Kalemler shared they had never seen a fire of similar intensity in the last six decades.

Meanwhile, a suspect, who was detained in connection with the forest fire in Antalya's Manavgat district, was arrested on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Battle against wildfires in Turkey's drought-hit areas continues

Meanwhile, a suspect, who was earlier detained in connection with the forest fire in Antalya's Manavgat district, was remanded into judicial custody on Tuesday.

Erdogan thanks countries for supporting fight against forest fires

The Turkish president on Tuesday thanked the countries and organisations who supported Turkey's fight against wildfires that have ravaged the country for almost a week.

“I thank on my nation’s behalf all the friendly countries and organisations that have extended their support, sent wishes and condolences, voiced their readiness to help, and provided aid in our fight against the forest fires,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter.

“We will Inshallah overcome these difficult times as soon as possible,” he added.

The image he shared with the post includes flags of 73 countries and 10 international organisations.

Orman yangınlarıyla mücadelemizde desteğini, geçmiş olsun dileklerini, taziyelerini ileten, yardıma hazır olduklarını bildiren, yardım gönderen tüm dost ülke ve organizasyonlara milletim adına teşekkür ediyorum.

İnşallah bu zorlu süreci en kısa sürede atlatacağız. 🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/gMd14v8Ryr

— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) August 3, 2021 Separately, Erdogan thanked Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Spanish Prime Minister Spain Pedro Sanchez, for providing full support from the very first moment.

“I would like to express my gratitude to our neighbour Iran's President Ebrahim Raeisi, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim (bin Hamad Al Thani), Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for their strong solidarity,” he added.

READ MORE: Erdogan thanks Putin for supporting fight against wildfires in Turkey

'As Turkey helps other states, it also accepts help from them'

As Turkey extends a helping hand to other states, it is similarly ready to accept help from other countries amid recent forest fires that have led to deaths and material damage, Turkey's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

“Just as Turkey helps other countries as part of the spirit of solidarity, we wouldn't be hurt if other countries or institutions help us. This isn’t a matter of pride, this is a natural disaster. Solidarity is, of course, important in disaster situations and difficult conditions,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters at the Fire Management Centre in Turkey’s resort city of Antalya, which has been battling blazes.

Noting that Turkey faces “big” fires, Cavusoglu said that many countries, neighbouring states, “friendly and brotherly countries” and European states contacted Turkey to offer help.

After the EU sent its announcement to all member states that it would help Turkey, “there were responses from four countries … Croatia, Romania, France, and Spain,” said Cavusoglu, adding that Turkish authorities assessed the help offered, such as planes, helicopters, and other relevant firefighting equipment.

Other offers of help came from other countries, he said.

“We’re facing a disaster the likes of which we’ve never seen. We will fight this fight together and we will get through this together,” Cavusoglu said.

He also said that as France later had to send a firefighting plane to neighbouring Spain, it later withdrew their offer to help Turkey.

Cavusoglu also thanked Azerbaijan for sending equipment, a helicopter, and firefighting teams to Turkey.

In addition, Iran provided one plane and two helicopters, Spain sent two planes, Qatar sent a technical team and a plane, Russia sent five planes and three helicopters, and Ukraine sent three seaplanes.

READ MORE:  Fight against forest fires continues at full pace in Turkey

Planes sent by Spain arrive in Turkey

Two CL 415 firefighting planes sent by Spain arrived on Tuesday in Turkey to help the country with massive forest fires in its southern provinces that have led to deaths and injuries, the Spanish Embassy in Ankara said on Twitter.

The Spanish group of 27 pilots, who arrived at the Dalaman district of the Aegean Mugla province, are preparing their flight plans for the emergency departure of the planes, the embassy told Anadolu Agency.

The planes will begin their first missions in a short time after the Spanish team make an assessment of the current situation with the Turkish authorities.

Turkish gendarmerie, coast guard units join fight against wildfires

According to a statement by Gendarmerie General Command, the paramilitary force has dispatched as many as 2,310 personnel, 317 vehicles and four helicopters to Antalya, Mugla, Isparta, and Denizli, where forest fires are still burning.

The Coast Guard Command said on Twitter that it dispatched 520 personnel, one coast guard corvette, 26 security boats, a diving and rescue squad as well a coast guard helicopter to assist the extinguishing efforts.

The Istanbul police directorate also sent armed water cannon trucks, generally used for riot control, to contribute to the firefighting efforts in Antalya and Mugla.

READ MORE: Turkey battles wildfires in south for third day, launches investigation

Turkey will succeed against wildfires: Parliament speaker

Turkey will succeed in subduing forest fires that have been burning across southern coastal regions for almost a week, the nation's parliament speaker said on Tuesday.

“Turkey continues its fight against the fires. Hopefully, we will be successful,” Mustafa Sentop told Iraq's deputy parliament head Bashir al Haddad, who called Sentop to convey his condolences for blazes.

“We've seen that the Iraqi parliament has been by our side during all our difficult times,” said Sentop, thanking Iraq's legislature.

Al Haddad, for his part, said that the state and nation of Iraq stood by friendly country Turkey.

“I convey my condolences and best wishes to you and the Republic of Turkey. I hope you will be able to put out these forest fires that have spread all over Turkey as soon as possible,” he said.

In a visit to the areas affected by the forest fires, President Erdogan said $5.91 million (50 million Turkish liras) had been released to meet urgent needs.

Sentop calls for national solidarity amid wildfires

Later, Sentop issued a written statement calling for the nation's support to contain the forest fires.

“In national disasters, it is our duty to support our workers in the field in unity and solidarity,” he said.

“If even one of the fires was started deliberately, no one should have any doubt that our state will bring perpetrators to account even for a piece of branch.”

Mugla

One of Turkey's worst-affected areas is the province of Mugla, where hellish footage and photographs show at least five large fires still burning. 

Firefighters on Monday continued their efforts to put out blazes that are threatening populated areas in Bodrum and Milas districts.

A fire started in a forested region of the Beyciler area and rapidly spread to several other neighbourhoods due to the wind.

Some of the houses located in the fire-struck areas are now unusable with locals racing to save their livestock.

Only authorised vehicles are allowed into the region.

In the neighbourhoods of Yukari Mazi and Asagi Mazi, heavy smoke and rapidly changing wind directions make firefighting more challenging.

Volunteer citizens along with firefighting forces do their best to prevent the fire from spreading any further.

Istanbul Fire Department firefighters (Hisarönü, Muğla) pic.twitter.com/eCjBRHQes2

— Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (@municipalityist) August 2, 2021 Antalya still battling

In the popular tourist destination of Antalya, strong winds, searing temperatures and humidity have hampered efforts to stop the flames from spreading.

Forest fires have forced several villages to evacuate.

The worst hit areas are Akseki and Gundogmus districts.

Akseki District Governor Volkan Huldur says there's no fire threatening any residential areas in the district.

Firefighters are also still trying to contain a massive fire in Manavgat district both by air and land operations. The blaze in the district broke out on July 28. 

Manavgat'ta Yangın söndürme çalışmalarına destek veren belediye personeli arkadaşımız, çalışmalara havadan verilen desteği böyle görüntülemiş.

Yangın bölgesinde olmayıp, sosyal medyadan helikopter yok yazanlar umarım izlerler… pic.twitter.com/Y81ew3ovtA

— Dr.Hakan Bahadır🇹🇷 (@DrHakanBahadir) August 3, 2021 Spreading from Manavgat to Kalemler

 The blaze in the region of Manavgat reached Kalemler village, damaging houses and forests.

Authorities ordered the emergency evacuation of the residents on Sunday as a fresh blaze was to engulf the houses in Kalemler village.

“I was trapped in the fire, and you can see my ears are burned. That was a narrow escape. The rescuers sent me to the hospital. I inhaled fumes from the fire, and now my voice has turned like this.

My house is burnt, there is nothing left but ashes,” a villager recalled the terrifying scene.

“I was born here and I'm 63 years old now. This is my first time experiencing such a huge fire in my life,” another Kalemler villager said.

“I've never seen anything like this before. As you can see, the tractor is burnt. It would have been saved if I could rescue the equipment. But I could only put on my pants and ran out at the time without considering anything else,” another villager said about his rushed evacuation.

Alevlerle savaşımız devam ediyor

Orman yangınları ile mücadeleye aralıksız destek veriyoruz pic.twitter.com/v2yAJUkNVG

— Türk Polis Teşkilatı (@EmniyetGM) August 3, 2021 Isparta province

Aerial and land response units are also responding to forest fires in Isparta province.

The fires broke out in a forest and spread in a short time because of heavy winds.

The wildfires that erupted last Wednesday in the country have claimed eight lives so far.

At present, over 4,000 firefighters and hundreds of fire trucks are still battling across the country to contain the fires.

The European Union also announced that the bloc would send three firefighting planes from Croatia and Spain after Turkey activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism on Sunday.

READ MORE: Why is the PKK suspected to have caused wildfires in Turkey?

#Isparta Sütçüler Yazılı Kanyon'da başlayan yangın yerleşim yerlerine ulaştı! Halk çok acil müdahale ve destek talep ediyor! Bu sesi duyalım, duyuralım! #ıspartayanıyor pic.twitter.com/nKstlnEpJN

— Merve (@okuyanmerve1) August 2, 2021 Source: AA
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