Four killed in Turkish wildfires

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Four people have been killed in Turkish wildfires as firefighters battled blazes across the Mediterranean resort regions.

More than 70 wildfires broke out in provinces on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts as well as inland areas, President Tayyip Erdogan said.

He said that 14 wildfires were still burning, while Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said fires raged on in six provinces and officials promised punish anyone found responsible for starting them.

"We were hoping to contain some of the fires as of this morning but while we say cautiously that they are improving, we still cannot say they are under control," he said.

The worst fires were in the Manavgat and Akseki regions, in Antalya province, where strong winds forced the fire toward settlements on Wednesday.

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

More than 25 neighbourhoods or villages were 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)
Huge wildfire rages in Aegean resort town of Marmaris (REUTERS)
Huge wildfire rages in Aegean resort town of Marmaris (REUTERS)

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.

Authorities on Thursday launched investigations into the fires and 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 in the last 24 hours, 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.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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