A total of 19 wildfires have affected Turkey’s southeastern Hatay and Mersin provinces and Çanakkale province in the country’s northwest since July 16, according to Agriculture and Forestry Minister İbrahim Yumaklı. The teams were unable to bring two of the fires under control after a day due to weather conditions.
Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç announced that seven suspects were identified and two of them were arrested over the investigations regarding the forest fires that broke out across the country between July 10-17.
10-17 Temmuz 2023 Tarihleri Arasında Muğla/Fethiye, Mersin, Çanakkale, Hatay/Belen, Muğla/Milas, Osmaniye, Kahramanmaraş, İzmir/Urla ve Antalya il/Manavgat ilçelerinde meydana gelen orman yangınları sebebiyle ilgili Cumhuriyet Başsavcılıklarınca soruşturmalar başlatılmıştır.— Yılmaz TUNÇ (@yilmaztunc) July 17, 2023
The fire that occurred in Hatay began when two individuals’ fire, lit to clear the reed beds in their field, spread to the forest. Minister Yumaklı said the flames have so far affected about 230 hectares of land. The fire spread to residential areas and many houses and vehicles were damaged. Hatay was one of the provinces most affected by the Feb. 6. Earthquakes. As of July 17, 6 p.m. local time, the fire has not yet been extinguished.
After the fire in the historic Gökçeada island in Çanakkale province, another fire broke out in the center of the province on the same day. At least 500 hectares of land were affected by the fire, and the fire has not yet been extinguished as of July 17, 6 p.m. local time. The governor’s office announced that the villages in the vicinity had been evacuated.
After the forest fire in Mersin province, the surrounding houses were evacuated due to their proximity to residential areas. The fire in Mersin was brought under control as of July 17, 6 p.m. local time.
The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry stated that 12,384 hectares of forestland were lost in 2,043 fires in 2022.