Wildfire. Free public domain CC0 image.

A forest fire in Turkey’s southeastern Datca peninsula was brought under control on Thursday, some 24 hours after it began, according to a government minister, with hundreds of residents temporarily evacuated.

Strong winds exacerbated the fire, which extended to residential areas overnight, with seven planes and 14 helicopters battling it, according to Forestry Minister Vahit Kirisci.

“The fire in Datca is under control. Cooling efforts continue,” he said, adding that investigations showed the fire broke out at an electrical transformer around noon on Wednesday.

According to Turkey’s Disaster Management Authority (AFAD), 450 dwellings and 3,530 people were evacuated when flames reached residential areas in sparsely inhabited portions of the peninsula.

On Wednesday, footage showed smoke pouring from the woods as aircraft sprayed the blazes with water as the flames advanced. It also showed a house’s garden covered in flames, with trees in the yard on fire.

According to the Mugla provincial mayor’s office, 17 dwellings and 728 hectares of land were damaged. It released statistics suggesting that winds in the area have drastically slowed on Thursday morning.

According to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, the fire had harmed 19 persons, nine of whom were still being treated as of Thursday morning.

France and Portugal, which are experiencing their second heatwave in as many months, have been affected by a number of wildfires in recent weeks. According to scientists, human-caused climate change is increasing the likelihood and severity of heatwaves.

The flames in southern Turkey brought up memories of last year’s summer fires, which destroyed 140,000 hectares (345,950 acres) of land, the biggest on record.

Another fire in the Aegean tourist town of Cesme was put out on Thursday morning, according to the forestry authorities.

Source: Reuters

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