Forest land that's the equivalent of 29,487 soccer fields in size were scorched by fires in Turkey in 2020, with 20,936 hectares of forestry getting destroyed in more than 3,000 incidents.
The state spent 600 million Turkish Liras to extinguish these fires, and another 200 million for forestation efforts on the land that was affected, data from the Forestry Directorate revealed.
An overwhelming 2,949 of Turkey's 3,412 forest fires last year were caused by human error, while the second-largest cause was thunder.
The largest fire on record last year was the Sep. 5 incident in southernmost Hatay, where more than a thousand emergency responders worked for 93 hours to put the flames out.
Planes and helicopters flew for a collective 520 hours in the Hatay fire, and dumped 12,000 tons of water on the flames, the data revealed.
The Hatay fire also cost 115 million liras in reforestation efforts, which the state will pour some 200 million liras into for some 30 million new trees.
The way to combat forest fires is by increasing fines on littering, picnics and grilling in forests, said Abdurrahman Akbolat, Representative for the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA).