We noticed a significant increase in firefighting units and crews as they struggled to contain huge fires that have now moved to Turkevleri.
Teams are urgently trying to stop the flames that are spreading a few kilometers from one of the main power plants in the region, which supplies electricity to more than half a million people.
Heavy machinery was brought in to dig deep scars into the mountain forest in an attempt to create a break and contain the flames.
A team from Istanbul Airport’s fire protection unit were halfway up the mountain, furiously pulling pipes in and out of trees to try and put out oncoming fires.
Ozan Karakis, the commander, told us: “We have enough teams. We have more than enough gear but it’s just too dry and it’s very hard terrain and vehicles can’t move around easily here.
He went on to say that climate change had made the situation more difficult as the temperatures were much warmer and much drier, but he insisted that the crews were aware of the situation and were keeping it under control.
His assurances came as Turkish media watchdog RTUK issued media advisories warning them that they faced “heavy punitive penalties” if they continued to focus on the actual fires and ignore them ” success ”in containing and extinguishing around 130 fires.
The warning note complained that media reports were causing alarm and panic among the population and damaging the morale of fire crews.
In the nearby town of Bozalan – another community in the Mugla region – we saw fire crews busy chopping down surviving bushes and foliage and urgently putting out the still smoldering embers of the blaze that had taken hold. ravaged a few hours earlier.
The earth is still so hot that several hot spots reignite after being confined. A firefighter was wiping his burnt face with a damp cloth. He told us that he had suffered the burns while fighting the fire at the Titanic Hotel in Bodrum a few days earlier.
Mustafa Ali has been a firefighter for a decade and he doesn’t think once of stopping now. There is too much to do and not the time to do it if they want to tackle these wildfires.
” I do not even think about it. And I just cool it with water if it starts to hurt, ”he tells us.
“I work day and night, 24/7 because this work is my heart. ”