ANKARA, July 28 (Reuters) – A massive forest fire in southern Turkey spread to the city of Manavgat as the flames were fanned by high winds on Wednesday, the local mayor said, and television footage showed locals running for their cars as the streets were engulfed in smoke.
The footage showed plumes of black smoke rising from the forest around Manavgat, 75 km (45 miles) east of the resort town of Antalya, and Mayor Sukru Sozen said the flames had subsided. spread to the city center, where many buildings were evacuated.
“The fire has spread to the city center. It still grows with the wind. It is impossible for us to determine the extent of the damage, there is also damage in the villages. We haven’t seen anything like it, ”Sozen told the TV station. Haberturk.
Antalya mayor Muhittin Bocek said the blaze started in four different places. He told Haberturk that four neighborhoods had been evacuated but that there was no casualty report yet.
Authorities could not immediately say what caused the fire.
Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said authorities were fighting the flames with a firefighting plane, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles and some 400 people.
Turkish agency AFAD said emergency teams from neighboring provinces were also called in, as authorities evacuated settlements near the forest.
Antalya, a popular destination for foreign and local tourists, is known for its scorching summer heat. Bocek said the extreme heat and strong winds stoke the fire as it sweeps through the pine forest.
The blaze comes as Turkey battles a series of disasters caused by extreme weather conditions in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, flash floods in the Black Sea provinces of Rize and Artvin damaged homes and property. The floods killed six people in Rize, according to AFAD.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Alex Richardson
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