Death toll climbs to 6 in Turkey wildfires

Death toll climbs to 6 in Turkey wildfires

The death toll from wildfires raging in Turkey’s Mediterranean towns rose to six Saturday after two forest workers were killed, the country’s health minister said. Fires across Turkey since Wednesday have burned down forests, encroaching on villages and tourist destinations and forcing people to evacuate.

The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli, said Saturday 88 of 98 fires that broke out amid strong winds and scorching heat have been brought under control.

New fires erupted in southern Hatay province where flames jumped to populated areas but appear to have been brought under control.

At least five people have died in Manavgat and one died in Marmaris. Both towns are located on the Mediterranean and are tourist destinations.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 400 people affected by the fires in Manavgat were released from hospitals and 10 were still receiving treatment. In Marmaris, 159 people were treated and one person was still undergoing treatment for burns.

Turkish media said hotel guests in parts of the Aegean town of Bodrum were told to evacuate and authorities called on private boats and yachts to assist in evacuation efforts from the sea.

Wildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the arid summer months. A heat wave across southern Europe, fed by hot air from Africa, has led to wildfires across the Mediterranean.

Temperatures in Greece and nearby countries in southeast Europe are expected to climb to 42 degrees Celsius (more than 107 Fahrenheit) Monday in many cities and towns and ease only later next week.

Turkey has blamed some previous forest fires on arson or outlawed Kurdish militants.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was visiting the area Saturday, inspecting from a helicopter. [AP]

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