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Tourists evacuated by boat at holiday resort amid Turkey wildfires

·2-min read
Tourists are evacuated from smoke-engulfed Mazi area in Bodrum, Turkey (AP)
Tourists are evacuated from smoke-engulfed Mazi area in Bodrum, Turkey (AP)

Tourists have been evacuated from a popular Turkish holiday resort amid a spate of wildfires in the region.

Guests at three five-star hotels in Bodrum were evacuated and reportedly told to wait for rescue boats on Saturday evening as new wildfires erupted nearby.

According to local media, coastguard vessels were joined by private boats and yachts to hel[ bring the tourists to safety.

Videos shared online showed worried holidaymakers wheeling their suitcases along the road while smoke from forest fires filled the sky.

Two forest workers died on Saturday, the country’s health minister said, taking the total death toll from the fires to six.

A married couple and an 82-year-old man also died and more than 50 people were hospitalised.

A 25-year-old volunteer died in another fire near the resort of Marmaris about 320 kilometres (200 miles) west of Antalya late on Thursday.

While new fires have surfaced, the minister of agriculture and forestry, Bekir Pakdemirli, said on Saturday that 91 of the 101 fires across the country have been brought under control.

More than 25 neighbourhoods or villages have been evacuated as dozens of homes were incinerated by the infernos.

A firefighter extinguishes a forest fire near the town of Manavgat (REUTERS)
A firefighter extinguishes a forest fire near the town of Manavgat (REUTERS)

Authorities on Thursday launched investigations into the fires to establish whether some of them were started deliberately.

Fahrettin Altun, a top aide to President Tayyip Erdogan said “those responsible will have to account for the attacks against nature and forests.”

Meanwhile, more than 40 wildfires erupted in Greece this week, with authorities stating they were fanned by winds and soaring temperatures.

Fires also burned large swathes of pine forest in the north of Lebanon this week, killing at least one firefighter and forcing some residents to flee.

Wildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the dry summer months, although some previous forest fires have been blamed on arson.

Temperatures in Greece and nearby countries are expected to climb to 42C (more than 107F) on Monday.

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