After the US, it is now the turn of Turkey to face the wrath of climate change. Turkey wildfires are raging out of control in the southern part of the country. 6 people, including 2 firefighters fighting the numerous fires have already been killed. More wildfires continue to rage across Greece, Italy, and Spain forcing thousands to evacuate.
The raging wildfires are threatening homes and hotels near beaches in southwestern Turkey, forcing holidaymakers to move to safety. Three 5-star hotels were hurriedly evacuated in Bodrum. The fires have been burning since Wednesday.
The two firefighters were reportedly killed on Saturday. They were among the hundreds of personnel from various agencies battling the blaze on the Aegean and the Mediterranean coasts, both major tourist spots.
Dramatic footage revealed people rushing to safety with whatever belonging they could gather as the fire sped in from a forested mountainous region.
Authorities Blame Arsonists For Turkey Wildfires
Authorities suspect that some of the fires were caused by arsonists, and a suspect has been detained. President Erdogan paid a visit to Manavgat, a town affected by the fire where 5 of the deaths took place. Over 50 people were hospitalized. Hot dry winds from Africa are aggravating the problem.
Akseki and Manavgat were the worst affection regions in the province of Antalya. Fire in the mountainside of Marmaris threatened guests at a luxury hotel Guvercinlick, an Aegean beach resort. Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine have sent in firefighting aircraft. Greece has also offered help. Temperatures in the southeast of Europe have almost touched 42C (107.6F).
Experts predict that forest fires like the Turkey wildfires are set to rise. The fire season will also be longer and will be more severe. The damaged ecosystem and the dry weather and the accumulation of dead biomass will increase the chances of forest fires. Fires like the Turkey wildfires will also encourage the spread of invasive species which have been shown to lead to more intense fires.
The Turkish authorities have alleged that arson has led to the fires and have tried to pin the blame on Kurdish militants. They have banned people from entering the forests to control the fires.
Turkey’s wildfires are common at this time of the year and the Aegean and Mediterranean regions are usually the worst affected. However, climate changes have made the fires more severe. The average spring temperatures in Turkey have risen from the pre-2010 figure of 12C to 13.2C. the highest spring temperatures recorded were 38.4C in the share.
Unless the world comes to an agreement to control rising temperatures, disasters like the US and Turkey wildfires will become a regular occurrence.