Wildfires Are Driving People Out Of Turkish Vacation Spots

Turkey’s skies are yellow with smokey haze from wildfires.

Thousands have fled coastal towns, both residents and tourists, to escape the flames that have been blazing on the country’s southern coast for six days. In Mugla province, 10,000 people were evacuated, according to Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. Some have escaped by car, others by boat.

The death toll has risen to eight.

The fires are part of over 100 blazes that broke out across more than 30 Turkish provinces, most of which have been contained or extinguished. Fed by strong winds and high temperatures, experts are pointing to climate change and human accidents as the culprits, although the causes of the fires remain under investigation. Southern Europe currently bakes in a heat wave that has also fed wildfires in Greece and Sicily.

Fighting the flames are locals and planes sent from the European Union, Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Spain, Iran and Azerbaijan, their crews working in Antalya and Mugla provinces to fight nine fires, and more active fires in the Isparta, Denizli, Izmir and Adana provinces.

The flames have destroyed farms, homes and forests, and killed livestock. Satellite photos released by Turkey show a blackened coastline that stretches for miles.

“We are going through days when the heat is above 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), where the winds are strong and humidity is extremely low,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said. “We are struggling under such difficult conditions.”

Josie Fischels is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

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