Çanakkale Strait closed to maritime traffic due to forest fire on Gallipoli peninsula

The Çanakkale Strait was closed to maritime traffic on July 6 as hundreds of firefighters were working to extinguish a forest fire that broke out on the historic Gallipoli peninsula. It was not clear how the forest fire started, while Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said that 300 hectares of land have been so far consumed.

Duvar English

The maritime traffic in the Çanakkale Strait was suspended due to a forest fire in northwest Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula on July 6.

There were no reports of casualties, but state broadcaster TRT Haber said Yalova and Kumköy villages in the Çanakkale province, close to where the fire broke out, were being evacuated. It was not clear how the fire started.

Hundredsof firefighters were working to extinguish the fire, state-runAnadolu news agency said.

Strongwinds fanned the fire and a huge pall of smoke hung over the southernpart of the peninsula as fire raged below among the trees, statetelevision footage showed.

Fire fighting teams were using helicopters to drop water and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli canceled his scheduled program in Manisa province and came to Çanakkale.

Pakdemirli said that a total of 510 firefighters, 118 water tankers, 20 bulldozers, 2 amphibious aircraft and 20 helicopters were battling the flames.

“Itseems that we have lost around 300 hectares [of land] so far,” hetold reporters.

The governor of Çanakkale İlhami Aktaş told Anadolu there were no reports of casualties and the fire was “contained in a certain region.” “There are two villages in the region; the flames are sometimes getting closer, but there is not a very big threat at the moment,” Aktaş said, adding that teams were doing “the necessary work for the flames not to advance towards the historical area.”

The peninsula attracts many visitors each year to pay homage to those who fought during the Gallipoli campaign of World War One. The blaze was not near the cemeteries built for the war dead.