MILAS, Turkey (Reuters) – A forest fire was coming closer to a power station in southwest Turkey on Friday, local officials said, a day after firefighters brought a blaze under control around another nearby plant, as an outbreak of wildfires entered its 10th day.
Tens of thousands of hectares of forest have been destroyed in Mediterranean and Aegean provinces in what President Tayyip Erdogan has called Turkey’s worst ever wildfires. Eight people have died and thousands of Turks and tourists have fled.
One fire in the province of Mugla, where major tourist resorts Bodrum and Marmaris are located, was burning some 5 km (3 miles) away from the coal-fired Yenikoy power station, a forestry agency official said.
Extensive safety measures were taken around the plant as fire approached the nearby Bayirkoy area, according to the municipality in Milas, where the plant is located.
Firefighting crews arrived there from Marmaris, where other forest fires have now been extinguished, it said.
TWELVE FIRES STILL BLAZING
Strong winds, low humidity and temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) have contributed to the spread of the fires, which have also hit neighbouring Greece.
Wildfire had also threatened the Kemerkoy power plant on the Mediterranean coast, some 15 km (9 miles) away from Yenikoy, but that blaze was extinguished early on Thursday.
Firefighters have brought 196 wildfires under control in the last 10 days, with 12 forest fires ongoing, according to Turkey’s communications directorate.
Mugla has been one of the worst-hit regions. The provincial municipality said 55,000 hectares have been burnt – more than twice the area burnt across the whole of Turkey last year – and 36,000 people evacuated.
Turkish authorities have been accused of failing to prepare for the threat after official data showed they spent only a fraction of the modest funds budgeted to prevent forest fires this year.
Hundreds of people have sought medical treatment from the 180 fires that have broken out since July 28, most of whom have been discharged from hospital.
(Reporting by Mert Ozkan, Umit Bektas, Yesim Dikmen; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)