74 forest fires across Turkey under control - official
Turkey has brought 74 of forest fires raging across the country under control so far, a senior official said, Anadolu Agency reported.
"Between July 28-30, out of total 85 forest fires, 74 have been brought under control," Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said on Twitter.
Pakdemirli also shared a list which showed that fire crews are still fighting blazes in 11 locations to bring them under control.
A neighborhood in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort city of Antalya was evacuated after flames, fanned by wind, spread to residential areas.
Some 33 people were given shelter in a high school dormitory.
Earlier Pakdemirli said that 4,000 personnel, six planes, nine unmanned aerial vehicles, one unmanned helicopter, 45 helicopters, 55 heavy duty vehicles, and 1,080 water tenders are joining the efforts to tame the flames.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum, and Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu joined Pakdemirli for a press conference to share recent developments on the forest fires burning over the past several days in various parts of the country.
The forest fires have erupted since Wednesday in the southern provinces of Mersin, Osmaniye, Adana, Antalya, and Kahramanmaras. Blazes also broke out in the southwestern province of Mugla and central provinces of Kirikkale and Kayseri.
Speaking on the fires in Mugla, Pakdemirli said there had been "minor damages" in the resort town of Marmaris.
"It does not threaten the settlements, there is a fire moving towards the sea," he said.
The minister also emphasized that official investigations into the causes of the fires continue.
"Judicial and law enforcement authorities continue their investigation into the causes of the fires. A statement will be made once important findings are uncovered," he said.
Citing widespread speculation on social media, Pakdemirli also urged the public against relying on uncorroborated information from nonofficial sources.
As a measure to ease the financial burden of victims of the flames, loan repayments for those injured will be postponed, he stated.
To help heal the environment after the blazes are doused, new trees will be planted to replace those that charred, with afforestation work to start at the end of October and beginning of November, Pakdemirli added.