Wildfires in Turkey forced thousands of holidaymakers to be evacuated

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Intensity of wildfires in Turkey on the middle of the week was four times higher than anything on record for the nation, according to satellite data. Blaze swept through the tourist regions of Antalya and Muğla, forcing thousands of holidaymakers to be evacuated from their hotels by a flotilla of boats. Local media published photos of popular Aegean Sea resorts surrounded by burning hillsides and forest and farmland reduced to ash. Throughout the country, firefighters battled more than 70 blazes. Dozens were hospitalised by the fumes. Thousands of firefighters are battling wildfires in villages and resorts on Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts. Turkey’s Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, said bringing the fires under control might take time.

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The heatwave in southern Europe is expected to linger into next week with some forecasts suggesting it could be among the most severe on record. The death toll from wildfires on Turkey’s southern coast has risen to four, including a 25-year-old volunteer. The worst fires hit the Manavgat and Akseki regions in Antalya province. The mayor for Marmaris said he couldn’t rule out “sabotage” as a cause for the fire there. In other provinces, authorities declared a ban on people entering forests in a bid to prevent more fires.Villages and some hotels have been evacuated in tourist areas and television footage has shown people fleeing across fields as fires closed in on their homes. Erdogan said at least five planes,45 helicopters, drones, and 1,080 firefighting vehicles were involved in firefighting efforts at 1,140 sites.