Turkey’s sky is yellow with a smoky haze from forest fires.
Thousands have fled coastal cities, both residents and tourists, to escape the flames that have raged on the country’s south coast for six days. According to Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, 10,000 people have been evacuated in Mugla province. Some fled by car, others by boat.
The death toll has risen to eight.
Mehmet Guzel / AP
The fires are part of over 100 flames that have broken out in more than 30 Turkish provinces, most of which have been contained or extinguished. Fed by strong winds and high temperatures, experts point to climate change and human accidents as culprits, although the causes of the fires are still being investigated. Southern Europe is currently baking in a heat wave that has also led to forest fires in Greece and Sicily.
Locals and planes from the European Union, Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Spain, Iran and Azerbaijan are fighting the flames, their crews are working in the provinces of Antalya and Mugla to fight nine fires, and other active fires in Isparta, Denizli , Izmir and Adana Provinces.
The flames destroyed farms, houses and forests and killed livestock. Satellite photos released by Turkey show a blackened coast stretching for miles.
“We see days when the heat is over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), when the wind is strong and the humidity is extremely low,” said Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli. “We are fighting under such difficult conditions.”
Turkish National Defense Ministry / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Josie Fischels is an intern at the NPR news desk.