Turkish wildfire brought under control after 1,000 evacuated
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Firefighters brought a wildfire in southern Turkey under control Thursday, a day after more than 1,000 people were evacuated from homes and hotels, officials said.
The fire broke out Wednesday in the district of Gulnar in the Mediterranean coastal province of Mersin and spread to parts of the nearby district of Silifke, fanned by strong winds.
At least 29 water-dropping helicopters, 11 planes and about 850 personnel were involved in efforts to extinguish the blaze, according to Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency, AFAD.
Hundreds of homes and at least two hotels were evacuated as a precaution, the agency said. At least eight people were hospitalized due to the fire, one in serious condition, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.
Deputy Agriculture and Forestry Ministry Veysel Tiryaki said around 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of forest was burned before the blaze was contained.
A highway linking Mersin to the nearby province of Antalya was closed temporarily but was reopened on Thursday, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Last summer, blazes that were fed by strong winds and scorching temperatures tore through forests in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions, killing at least eight people and countless animals.
The government came under criticism for its inadequate response and preparedness to fight large-scale wildfires, including a lack of modern firefighting planes.
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