Three people are killed as 17 wildfires rage across southern Turkey

Three people have died in a forest fire in southern Turkey where authorities are battling multiple blazes for a second day amid suspicions of arson.   

Dozens of villages as well as some hotels were evacuated as flames ripped through buildings and forced residents to flee across fields in Manavgat, near the Mediterranean resort of Antalya. 

Officials said that more than 60 wildfires have erupted across 17 provinces on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts this week, with the presidency vowing to hold to account those responsible for the ‘attacks’.

Of those wildfires, 36 have been contained, but firefighting efforts for the remaining 17 continue, with more than 140 people requiring treatment and many more suffering property damage, according to AFAD.

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said an 82-year-old man was found dead during the evacuation of Kepezbeleni early Thursday. Two further people were found dead in Degirmenli. 

Ten people were stranded by the fire on Thursday morning with a rescue mission underway.

Authorities evacuated 18 villages and districts in Antalya while 16 more villages were evacuated in the neighbouring provinces of Adana and Mersin. A hospital in Manavgat was also evacuated.   

Pakdemirli said 35 aircrafts, 457 vehicles, and 4,000 personnel were involved in firefighting efforts, as separate wildfires raged in the provinces of Osmaniye, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Adana, Mersin and Kutahya. 

Three people have died in a forest fire in southern Turkey where authorities are battling multiple blazes for a second day amid suspicions of arson

Smoke rises as firefighters continued works on extinguishing the forest fire that broke out in Mugla's Marmaris district on Thursday

Smoke rises as firefighters continued works on extinguishing the forest fire that broke out in Mugla’s Marmaris district on Thursday

Officials said that more than 60 wildfires have erupted across 17 provinces on Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts this week, with the presidency vowing to hold to account those responsible for the 'attacks'

Officials said that more than 60 wildfires have erupted across 17 provinces on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts this week, with the presidency vowing to hold to account those responsible for the ‘attacks’

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said 35 aircrafts, 457 vehicles, and 4,000 personnel were involved in firefighting efforts, as separate wildfires raged in the provinces of Osmaniye, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Adana, Mersin and Kutahya

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said 35 aircrafts, 457 vehicles, and 4,000 personnel were involved in firefighting efforts, as separate wildfires raged in the provinces of Osmaniye, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Adana, Mersin and Kutahya

At least 36, of 60 fires, have been contained, but firefighting efforts for the remaining 17 continue, with more than 140 people requiring treatment or suffering property damage

At least 36, of 60 fires, have been contained, but firefighting efforts for the remaining 17 continue, with more than 140 people requiring treatment or suffering property damage

Pakdemirli said 35 aircrafts, 457 vehicles, and 4,000 personnel were involved in firefighting efforts, as separate wildfires raged in the provinces of Osmaniye, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Adana, Mersin and Kutahya

Pakdemirli said 35 aircrafts, 457 vehicles, and 4,000 personnel were involved in firefighting efforts, as separate wildfires raged in the provinces of Osmaniye, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Adana, Mersin and Kutahya

Firefighters are tackling 17 fires in the region, the largest in Manavgat, Anamur and Adana, in southern Turkey

Firefighters are tackling 17 fires in the region, the largest in Manavgat, Anamur and Adana, in southern Turkey

Buildings including a hotel in the Aegean resort of Marmaris were evacuated due to the blaze, state broadcaster TRT Haber said. Footage showed two separate fires near residential areas in the Aegean summer hotspots of Bodrum, where another hotel was evacuated, and Didim.

‘Our struggle to contain (the fires) continues, and surely we will contain them. But this may take some time,’ he said.

The timing of the various wildfires has raised concerns of arson, with the presidency’s communications director Fahrettin Altun saying investigations were launched to determine the cause of the fires.

‘Those responsible will be held to account for the attacks they mounted on our nature and forests as soon as possible,’ Altun said on Twitter. 

Three people have died in a forest fire in southern Turkey where authorities are battling multiple blazes for a second day amid suspicions of arson

Three people have died in a forest fire in southern Turkey where authorities are battling multiple blazes for a second day amid suspicions of arson

A helicopter flies over Mugla in Turkey's Marmaris district on Thursday as efforts to extinguish forest fires in the region continued

A helicopter flies over Mugla in Turkey’s Marmaris district on Thursday as efforts to extinguish forest fires in the region continued

Efforts to extinguish rapidly spreading wild fires continued on Thursday as fires raged on

Smokes rises over a hotel in Icmeler, southern Turkey

Smokes rises over a hotel in Icmeler near the Aegean coastal town of Marmaris, southern Turkey, on Thursday as efforts to extinguish rapidly spreading wild fires continued

Tourists were seen on the beach near the town of Manavgat in southern Turkey as dark smoke covered the sky following wildfires

Tourists were seen on the beach near the town of Manavgat in southern Turkey as dark smoke covered the sky following wildfires

Beachgoers play on the sand as dark smoke descends over the coastal resort on Thursday amid mass forest fires in southern Turkey

Beachgoers play on the sand as dark smoke descends over the coastal resort on Thursday amid mass forest fires in southern Turkey

Dark smoke drifts over a hotel complex during a massive forest fire which engulfed a Mediterranean resort region on Thursday

Dark smoke drifts over a hotel complex during a massive forest fire which engulfed a Mediterranean resort region on Thursday

The timing of the various wildfires has raised concerns of arson, with the presidency's communications director Fahrettin Altun saying investigations were launched to determine the cause of the fires

 The timing of the various wildfires has raised concerns of arson, with the presidency’s communications director Fahrettin Altun saying investigations were launched to determine the cause of the fires

A helicopter fights the forest fire after it broke out in Kuyucak

It is one of 17 fires that are blazing across southern Turkey

A helicopter fights the forest fire after it broke out in Kuyucak area of Bodrum in southern Turkey. It is one of 17 fires that are blazing across the region

A damaged house in Aydincik, near Mersin in Turkey, was engulfed in flames on Thursday as forest fires swept the region fanned by strong winds

A damaged house in Aydincik, near Mersin in Turkey, was engulfed in flames on Thursday as forest fires swept the region fanned by strong winds

Firefighters tackle a blaze in Aydincik district of Turkey's Mersin, one of 60 that has broken out in the country's south this week

Firefighters tackle a blaze in Aydincik district of Turkey’s Mersin, one of 60 that has broken out in the country’s south this week

Residents desperately use spades and branches to try to put out raging wild fires near the town of Manavgat, south Turkey

Residents desperately use spades and branches to try to put out raging wild fires near the town of Manavgat, south Turkey

Residents help extinguish forest fires that have killed at least three people and forced hundreds of people to flee their homes

Residents help extinguish forest fires that have killed at least three people and forced hundreds of people to flee their homes

Residents flee across fields in Dolbazlar neighbourhood in Antalya, southern Turkey, on Thursday after wildfires reached them

Residents flee across fields in Dolbazlar neighbourhood in Antalya, southern Turkey, on Thursday after wildfires reached them

A man rescues his dog from his burning house in Manavgat, Turkey, after it caught flames as wildfires swept the region on Thuesday

A man rescues his dog from his burning house in Manavgat, Turkey, after it caught flames as wildfires swept the region on Thuesday

A forest fire burns near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey, on Thursday. At least three people have died since the fires erupted on Wednesday

A forest fire burns near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey, on Thursday. At least three people have died since the fires erupted on Wednesday

An aerial view of a burnt out forest in southern Turkey after wild fires swept the region causing widespread destruction on Wednesday and Thursday

An aerial view of a burnt out forest in southern Turkey after wild fires swept the region causing widespread destruction on Wednesday and Thursday

Firefighters were working to extinguish wild fires across southern Turkey after they spread rapidly towards towns after being helped by hot weather and fanned by strong winds

Firefighters were working to extinguish wild fires across southern Turkey after they spread rapidly towards towns after being helped by hot weather and fanned by strong winds

Forest workers rescued two weasel cubs trapped in the flames of a forest fire in Manavgat district, southern Turkey on Wednesday

Forest workers rescued two weasel cubs trapped in the flames of a forest fire in Manavgat district, southern Turkey on Wednesday

A weasel cub gingerly makes its way out of its den

It was rescued from a raging forest blaze by firefighters in southern Turkey on Wednesday

A weasel cub gingerly makes its way out of its den after being rescued from a raging forest blaze by firefighters in southern Turkey on Wednesday

Weasel cubs rescued from the forest fires in Manavgat district in southern Turkey are seen recovering as firefighters work to get the flames under control

Weasel cubs rescued from the forest fires in Manavgat district in southern Turkey are seen recovering as firefighters work to get the flames under control

A rescue worker pours cool water over a weasel cub after it was rescued from a raging forest fire in southern Turkey

A rescue worker pours cool water over a weasel cub after it was rescued from a raging forest fire in southern Turkey

The forest fire has continued burning for a second day today, helped by hot weather and strong winds that have fanned the flames

The forest fire has continued burning for a second day today, helped by hot weather and strong winds that have fanned the flames

Authorities evacuated 18 villages and districts in Antalya while 16 more villages were evacuated in the neighbouring provinces of Adana and Mersin after smoke and flames burned into Wednesday evening

Authorities evacuated 18 villages and districts in Antalya while 16 more villages were evacuated in the neighbouring provinces of Adana and Mersin after smoke and flames burned into Wednesday evening

At least ten people were stranded at the nearby Oymapinar dam in Antalya province, southern Turkey, after wild fires broke out on Wednesday

At least ten people were stranded at the nearby Oymapinar dam in Antalya province, southern Turkey, after wild fires broke out on Wednesday 

Plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the surrounding forest, blocking out the sky, in Manavgat after forest fires broke out

Plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the surrounding forest, blocking out the sky, in Manavgat after forest fires broke out

The flames ripped through houses in Manavgat and the surrounding area as forest fires, helped by hot weather and strong winds, spread rapidly

The flames ripped through houses in Manavgat and the surrounding area as forest fires, helped by hot weather and strong winds, spread rapidly

Dozens of people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and several for burns as a forest fire ravaged several communities near Mediterranean tourist resort Antalya

Dozens of people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and several for burns as a forest fire ravaged several communities near Mediterranean tourist resort Antalya

A firefighting plane, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles, and 400 personnel were dispatched to tackle the flames in southern Turkey

A firefighting plane, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles, and 400 personnel were dispatched to tackle the flames in southern Turkey

Dozens of people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and several for burns as a forest fire ravaged several communities near Mediterranean tourist resort Antalya.

It left at least 500 people homeless and forced hundreds more to flee after it spread nine miles to the coastal town Manavgat.

Antalya mayor Muhittin Bocek said it was likely the fire was an act of arson because it was started in four different locations. 

‘But we do now have clear information about that at this stage’, he added.  

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said ‘all necessary support will be given to our citizens who have suffered from the fire,’ adding an investigation had been launched into the cause.

Turkish media reported 62 people, mainly local people overcome with smoke and three suffering from burns, were hospitalised. 

Flares rage inside a damaged house after a fire broke out in a forest in Akseki district and spread to the nearby town on Wednesday

Flares rage inside a damaged house after a fire broke out in a forest in Akseki district and spread to the nearby town on Wednesday

The fires left at least 500 people homeless and forced hundreds more to flee after it spread nine miles to the coastal town Manavgat

The fires left at least 500 people homeless and forced hundreds more to flee after it spread nine miles to the coastal town Manavgat

A fire rages in a damaged house in the Karagoz neighbourhood of Manavgat district after forest fires spread through the area

A fire rages in a damaged house in the Karagoz neighbourhood of Manavgat district after forest fires spread through the area 

Firefighters and rescue teams were working to tame the raging flames through Wednesday and into Thursday following a forest fire in Manavgat

Firefighters and rescue teams were working to tame the raging flames through Wednesday and into Thursday following a forest fire in Manavgat

Authorities evacuated 18 villages and districts in Antalya while 16 more villages were evacuated in the neighbouring provinces of Adana and Mersin

Authorities evacuated 18 villages and districts in Antalya while 16 more villages were evacuated in the neighbouring provinces of Adana and Mersin

A burnt house in Manavgat was still smoldering late Wednesday and into Thursday after a forest fire fanned by heavy winds devastated the region

A burnt house in Manavgat was still smoldering late Wednesday and into Thursday after a forest fire fanned by heavy winds devastated the region

Dozens of people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and several for burns as a forest fire ravaged several communities near Mediterranean tourist resort Antalya

Dozens of people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and several for burns as a forest fire ravaged several communities near Mediterranean tourist resort Antalya

Drone photos show an aerial view of the damage caused by forest fires in Manavgat district, southern Turkey, on Wednesday

Drone photos show an aerial view of the damage caused by forest fires in Manavgat district, southern Turkey, on Wednesday

Residents walk among the burnt out houses in Manvagat district, Turkey, after they were destroyed in a forest fire on Wednesday

Residents walk among the burnt out houses in Manvagat district, Turkey, after they were destroyed in a forest fire on Wednesday

Aerial photos revealed the extent of the damage to houses in Manavgat district in Turkey after the area was ravaged by forest fires

Aerial photos revealed the extent of the damage to houses in Manavgat district in Turkey after the area was ravaged by forest fires

Firefighters and rescue teams were working to extinguish the fire into Thursday after it spread rapidly, fanned by strong winds, on Wednesday

Firefighters and rescue teams were working to extinguish the fire into Thursday after it spread rapidly, fanned by strong winds, on Wednesday

The government’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said a further 30 people were ‘affected’ by the fire in the Mediterranean coastal town, but did not provide details.  

Security forces helped move hundreds of residents out of four neighborhoods in the town out of the fire’s path after it was fanned by strong winds causing it to spread rapidly on Wednesday. 

Hundreds of forestry workers, aided by helicopters and a plane, tried to bring the fire under control. 

Footage on social media and Turkish TV showed rescuers dumping fire retardant from helicopters on burning buildings and fields in and around the coastal town of Manavgat.

Other videos online showed burnt residential buildings and people fleeing across fields as firefighters backed by helicopters battled to extinguish the fires.

A forest fire in southern Turkey spread to the town of Manavgat after the flames were fanned by strong winds on Wednesday, forcing authorities to evacuate homes

A forest fire in southern Turkey spread to the town of Manavgat after the flames were fanned by strong winds on Wednesday, forcing authorities to evacuate homes

Antalya mayor Muhittin Bocek said the fire said it was likely the fire was an act of arson because it was started in four different locations

Antalya mayor Muhittin Bocek said the fire said it was likely the fire was an act of arson because it was started in four different locations

Security forces helped move hundreds of residents out of four neighborhoods in the town out of the fire's path as firefighters worked to control the blaze

Security forces helped move hundreds of residents out of four neighborhoods in the town out of the fire’s path as firefighters worked to control the blaze

The government's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said around 30 people were 'affected' by the fire in the Mediterranean coastal town, but did not provide details

The government’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said around 30 people were ‘affected’ by the fire in the Mediterranean coastal town, but did not provide details

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said authorities were battling the flames with a firefighting plane, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles and 400 personnel, and that the fire was partially under control

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said authorities were battling the flames with a firefighting plane, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles and 400 personnel, and that the fire was partially under control

Footage showed streets being engulfed in smoke and flames, spreading as far as the town centre. Plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the surrounding forest, blocking out the sky. 

The flames have so far destroyed dozens of hectares of forest cover as well as several buildings. 

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said authorities were battling the flames with a firefighting plane, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles and 400 personnel, and that the fire was partially under control. 

‘Our job now is to fight the fire,’ the minister said in televised remarks. ‘There will be an investigation and the causes will be determined later.’

Security forces assess the forest fire in southern Turkey's Manavgat region after black plumes of smoke covered the sky on Wednesday

Security forces assess the forest fire in southern Turkey’s Manavgat region after black plumes of smoke covered the sky on Wednesday

Efforts to extinguish the fire were underway on Wednesday, hours after the flames and smoke reached the town of Manavgat

Efforts to extinguish the fire were underway on Wednesday, hours after the flames and smoke reached the town of Manavgat

Mayor Sukru Sozen said the fire was growing because of strong winds of up to 50km an hour. 

‘It’s impossible for us to determine the size of the damage, there is damage in the villages too. We have not seen anything like this,’ he told broadcaster Haberturk. 

Governor Yigit denied earlier media reports that patients at a hospital in Manavgat were being transferred to another location, but said the hospitals in the area were placed on alert. 

Tourists resorts in the region weren’t affected, Yigit added. 

Security forces assess the forest fire in southern Turkey's Manavgat region after black plumes of smoke covered the sky on Wednesday

Security forces assess the forest fire in southern Turkey’s Manavgat region after black plumes of smoke covered the sky on Wednesday

A view of the forest fire that broke out in Manavgat district of Antalya in southern Turkey on Wednesday and was fanned by high speed winds

A view of the forest fire that broke out in Manavgat district of Antalya in southern Turkey on Wednesday and was fanned by high speed winds

Plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the southern Turkish town of Manavgat after a forest fire broke out in the region on Wednesday

Plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the southern Turkish town of Manavgat after a forest fire broke out in the region on Wednesday

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said authorities were battling the flames with a firefighting plane, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles and 400 personnel, and that the fire was partially under control

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said authorities were battling the flames with a firefighting plane, 19 helicopters, 108 vehicles and 400 personnel, and that the fire was partially under control

Efforts to extinguish the fire were underway on Wednesday, hours after the flames and smoke reached the town of Manavgat

Efforts to extinguish the fire were underway on Wednesday, hours after the flames and smoke reached the town of Manavgat

Smoke covers Manavgat district in southern Turkey after a forest fire broke out in on Wednesday and was fanned by strong winds

Smoke covers Manavgat district in southern Turkey after a forest fire broke out in on Wednesday and was fanned by strong winds

Smoke rises over Manavgat district in Antalya, southern Turkey, after a forest fire broke out and spread to the nearby town

Smoke rises over Manavgat district in Antalya, southern Turkey, after a forest fire broke out and spread to the nearby town

Turkey’s AFAD disaster agency said emergency teams from nearby provinces were also called into action, while authorities evacuated settlements near the forest.

Antalya, a popular destination for both foreign and local tourists, is known for its scorching summer heat. Bocek said the extreme heat and strong winds were fanning the fire as it swept through the pine forest. 

The fire comes as Turkey battles with 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. 

Smoke covers the sky as people leave their homes because of a forest fire in Manavgat district in southern Turkey

Smoke covers the sky as people leave their homes because of a forest fire in Manavgat district in southern Turkey

A woman flees her home after it was engulfed in smoke and flames when a forest fire swept across Turkey's Manavagat district

A woman flees her home after it was engulfed in smoke and flames when a forest fire swept across Turkey’s Manavagat district

Smoke covers the sky as residents leave their homes as a forest fire engulfs their homes in Antalya's Manavgat district

Smoke covers the sky as residents leave their homes as a forest fire engulfs their homes in Antalya’s Manavgat district

A view from a damaged house after a forest fire broke out in Manavgat district of Turkey's southern Antalya province on Wednesday

A view from a damaged house after a forest fire broke out in Manavgat district of Turkey’s southern Antalya province on Wednesday 

Lebanese firefighters were also fighting forest fires for a second day on Thursday following blazes in the country’s north.

The fires, which have spread across the border into Syria, killed at least one person, a 15-year-old boy, who was helping firefighting efforts in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s civil defence said it deployed 25 firetrucks, supported by four air force helicopters and military units, to put out the blaze.

But the fires continued to rage, spreading east, and have already affected large swaths of forest in the mountainous north.

Residents posted videos and images of scorched forests, blackened trees and fires on mountaintops, as the blaze closes in on the village of Qobayat.

There was no official estimate yet of the area affected.

Lebanon’s Red Cross said late on Wednesday it had evacuated 17 people and treated more than 30, including eight who have been admitted to hospital.

‘There are lots of damages. Lots of losses,’ said Omar Massoud, the mayor of Andaqt village.

He estimated that about two million square metres – about 500 acres – of pine and oak forests have been destroyed.

‘As you see, the weather and the wind … even with the helicopters of the Lebanese army, they are not able to control the fire,’ he told The Associated Press.

The fire began on Wednesday in the northern Akkar province, and has since spread across into border areas of Syria’s Homs province.

The Qobayat trail is described as having some of the most beautiful forests in Lebanon, with oak, pine and cedar trees.

Lebanon’s state-owned National News Agency said late on Wednesday the fire spread over the distance of four miles and was 1.2 miles wide, claiming tens of thousands of pine trees so far.

In Syria, Syrian firefighters were also struggling to contain the fires in villages in the al-Qusair area, according to the state news agency SANA.

Syrian military helicopters have also been taking part in the operation since Wednesday.

Syrian Civil Defence Chief General Saied al-Awad said gusty winds and high temperatures, as well as rugged terrain, were complicating the operations.

Efforts are ongoing to contain the fires away from residential areas, he said, according to SANA.

Lebanon’s government has called for urgent assistance from neighbouring Cyprus, which recently fought three days to put out one of its worst brush fires in decades.

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