Turkish Wildfire Leaves Charred Home and Ashes, as Blazes Continue

Amid deadly heat waves, flooding and wildfires around the world, calls intensify for urgent action to cut the greenhouse gases heating the planet

In this image provided by Maxar, a satellite view of smoke rising from wildfires near Oymapinar Dam, southern Turkey, two days ago.
In this image provided by Maxar, a satellite view of smoke rising from wildfires near Oymapinar Dam, southern Turkey, two days ago.Credit: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Tec

Days after a raging wildfire in southern Turkey drove his family from the home they lived in for four decades, Mehmet Demir returned on Saturday to discover a burnt-out building, charred belongings and ashes.

Bed springs, a ladder, metal chairs and some kitchenware were the only things left identifiable after some of the worst fires in years tore through the region, with several still burning four days after they erupted on Wednesday.

Demir's home, near the coastal Mediterranean town of Manavgat, not far from the popular tourist resort Antalya, was hit by one of almost 100 fires which officials say erupted this week across southern and western Turkey, where sweltering heat and strong winds fanned the flames.

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"The blaze spread through the highlands and raged suddenly," Demir told Reuters as he looked around the wreckage of his home, built in 1982. "We had to flee to the center of Manavgat. Then we came back to find the house like this."

"This was our (only) saving for the past 39-40 years. We are now left with the clothes we are wearing, me and my wife. There is nothing to do. This is when words fail."

Firefighters and Local villagers try to get the fire under control in Kirli village near the town of Manavgat, in Antalya province, Turkey, yesterday.Credit: ,AP

The death toll from the fires rose to six on Saturday, as two firefighting personnel died during efforts to control the fire in Manavgat, broadcaster CNN Turk said.

Satellite imagery showed smoke from the fires in Antalya and Mersin was extending to the island of Cyprus, around 150 km (100 miles) away.

Wildfires are common in southern Turkey in the hot summer months but local authorities say the latest fires have covered a much bigger area.

With deadly heat waves, flooding and wildfires occurring around the world, calls are growing for urgent action to cut the CO2 emissions heating the planet.

Turkey's Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said a total of 98 fires had broken out in the past four days, of which 88 were under control.

Fires continued in southern coastal provinces of Adana, Osmaniye, Antalya, Mersin and the western coastal province of Mugla, a popular resort region for Turks and foreign tourists, where some hotels have been evacuated this week.

Weather forecasts point to heat waves along the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal regions, with temperatures expected to rise by 4 to 8 degrees Celsius (39-46 Fahrenheit) over their seasonal average, Turkish meteorological authorities say.

They are forecast to reach 43 to 47 degrees Celsius in the coming days in Antalya, the main province of Manavgat.

"The weather is extremely hot and dry. This contributes to start of fires. Our smallest mistake leads to a great disaster," Turkish climate scientist Levent Kurnaz said on Twitter.

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