Winds hamper fight against Turkish forest blaze

More than 2,000 people have been involved in tackling the fire, now in its fourth day, backed up by more than a dozen aircraft which have sought to douse the flames engulfing the region's woodland.

Winds hamper fight against Turkish forest blaze
Strong winds on Sunday hampered fire-fighters' efforts to bring under control a major forest fire that has devastated 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres) of woodland in Turkey's tourism heartland, the state Anatolian news agency said.

A forestry official said he believed that by the end of the day fire-fighting teams would have control of the fire, described by one official as the worst Antalya province had ever faced.

One person has died and another is missing in the blaze, which has also destroyed 60 houses and endangered historical sites, including the ancient Greek amphitheatre in Aspendos, 37 km (23 miles) from the Mediterranean coastal resort of Side.

More than 2,000 people have been involved in tackling the fire, now in its fourth day, backed up by more than a dozen aircraft which have sought to douse the flames engulfing the region's woodland.

"The weather was in our favour last night but the wind flared up again this morning. Despite this we will have the fire totally under control today," said Mustafa Kurtulmuslu, deputy general manager of Turkey's forestry directorate.

He said fire-fighters were still extinguishing fires in five areas of Antalya, focused in the Manavgat and Serik districts, where six villages have been evacuated.

Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu said on Saturday officials thought the blaze was sparked by the snapping of power lines. However, state power officials said this was not possible, broadcaster CNN Turk reported.

Antalya is the nation's top tourist destination receiving about 7 million tourists each year, mostly during the summer period.

Reuters
Last Mod: 03 Ağustos 2008, 10:31
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