© Reuters. File photo: On July 29, 2021, a forest fire broke out near the town of Manavgat, east of Antalya, the Turkish resort city. REUTERS/Kaan Soyturk


Mert Ozcan

Manawat (Reuters)-A few days after a wildfire in southern Turkey drove his family out of their 40-year home, Mohamed Demir returned on Saturday and found a burned building, Burnt property and ashes.

After the worst fires in years swept the area, the only identifiable items were box-spring beds, ladders, metal chairs and some kitchen utensils, some of which were still burning four days after the outbreak on Wednesday.

Demir’s home is near Manavgat, a small town on the Mediterranean coast, not far from Antalya, a popular tourist destination. Officials said nearly 100 fires broke out in southern and western Turkey this week, fueled by intense heat and strong winds. Fire.

“The fire spread to the high ground and raged suddenly,” Demir told Reuters as he looked around the wreckage of a house built in 1982. “We had to flee to the center of Manavgat. Then we came back to find such a house.”

“This is our (only) savings for the past 39-40 years. We now only have the clothes we wear, me and my wife. There is nothing to do. This is when words fail.”

Turkish broadcaster CNN said that the death toll from the fire on Saturday rose to six, and two firefighters were killed while trying to control the fire in Manavgat.

Satellite images show that smoke from the Antalya and Mersin fires is spreading to the island of Cyprus, about 150 kilometers (100 miles) away.

In the hot summer, wildfires are common in southern Turkey, but local authorities say the area covered by recent fires is much larger.

With deadly heat waves, floods and wildfires happening all over the world, people are increasingly calling for urgent action to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that heat the planet.

Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli, stated that there have been 98 fires in the past four days, of which 88 have been brought under control.

Fires continue to occur in the southern coastal provinces of Adana, Osmaniye, Antalya, Mersin and the western coastal province of Mugla. Mugla is a popular resort area for Turks and foreign tourists. Some hotels have been evacuated this week.

The Turkish Meteorological Authority stated that the weather forecast shows that there will be heat waves in the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, and the temperature is expected to be 4 to 8 degrees Celsius higher than the seasonal average.

The temperature in Antalya, the main province of Manavgat, is expected to reach 43 to 47 degrees Celsius in the next few days.

Turkish climate scientist Levent Kurnaz said on Twitter: “The weather is very hot and dry. This can cause fires. Our smallest mistakes led to a huge disaster.”

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