Wildfire spreads to power plant in Aegean Milas, site evacuated
The wildfire spread to the thermal power plant in the Aegean coastal city of Milas late on Aug. 4 and the site was evacuated. Media reports said that flammable and explosive materials were already taken out from the power plant, and there was no danger of explosion. However, experts have pointed out that harmful gases will be spread to the atmosphere as a result of the coal inside the plant being burned in an uncontrolled way.
A blaze in the Agean coastal city of Milas which local authorities announced to be under control early on Aug. 4, spread to the Kemerköy Thermal Power Plant later on in the day, the local mayor announced on Twitter.
"Flames have entered the thermal power plant," Muhammet Tokat said, adding that the personnel were being evacuated.
Alevler Termik Santrale girdi... Santral şu an tamamen boşaltılıyor ve şimdi sirenler çalıyor... pic.twitter.com/pWBn4bmQPh— Av. Muhammet Tokat (@MuhammetTokat48) August 4, 2021
Media reports said that flammable and explosive materials were already taken out from the power plant, and there was no danger of explosion.
The Defense Ministry announced the navy had dispatched ships to the area for people to be evacuated.
"As the forest fire in Muğla's Milas district approached the thermal power plant in the region, our citizens who gathered at the dock are being evacuated to safe regions with landships belonging to our Naval Forces Command," the Defense Ministry tweeted, sharing photos of people on board the ships.
Muğla'nın Milas ilçesindeki orman yangınının bölgedeki termik santraline yaklaşması üzerine, iskelede toplanan vatandaşlarımız Deniz Kuvvetleri Komutanlığımıza ait çıkarma gemilerimizle emniyetli bölgelere tahliye ediliyor. #MSB #TSK pic.twitter.com/KDR5LVfDaO— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) August 4, 2021
Experts warn against spread of harmful gases due to burning of coal
Experts said that harmful gases will be spread to the atmosphere as a result of the coal inside the plant being burned in an uncontrolled way.
Former undersecretary of the Environment and Urbanization Ministry, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Öztürk, urged locals not to leave their houses and keep their windows closed.
"It is alleged that there are 40,000 tons of coal stock at the thermal power plant. If this is true, it poses a very serious risk of air pollution for human health in the region. The pollutants that will come out of the arbitrary burning of the coal are the pollutants of PM10, SO2, CO, NO2. These pollutants are very dangerous for health," Öztürk said in a series of tweets.
Termik santralde 40 bin ton kömür stoğu olduğu iddia edilmekte.— Prof. Dr. Mustafa Öztürk (@ozturk_mustafa) August 4, 2021
Bu doğru ise bölgede insan sağlığı için çok çok riskli hava kirliliği oluşur.
Kömürün gelişi güzel yanması sonucu oluşacak kirleticiler, PM10, SO2, CO, NO2 kirleticileridir.
Bu kirleticiler sağlık için çok tehlikeli
To extinguish a burning thermal power plant requires a very specific expertise, Öztürk said. "It is very important that active carbon masks are used. Gases that emerge out of the burning of coal in a random way (uncontrolled) are deadly," he further wrote.
Santral söndürme işlemi çok çok uzmanlık isteyen bir iştir. Aktif karbonlu maske maske kullanılması özellikle önemli.— Prof. Dr. Mustafa Öztürk (@ozturk_mustafa) August 4, 2021
Gelişi güzel (kontrolsüz) kömürün yanması sonucu oluşan gazlar ölümcüldür.
Earlier, the Milas Municipality said that the fire had resumed its advance towards the Kemerköy Thermal Power Plant.
“The blaze resumed. The flames have risen at an area very close to the Kemerköy Thermal Plant. Yes, you have heard it right. The thermal plant is under such a threat for the first time,” the municipality tweeted on Aug. 4, sharing footage showing smoke and flames at a location nearby the thermal power plant.
ALEVLER YENİDEN BAŞLADI... Kemerköy Termik Santrali’ne çok yakın bir alanda alevler yükseldi. Evet doğru duydunuz, TERMİK SANTRAL İLK DEFA BÖYLESİNE TEHDİT ALTINDA...#MilasYanıyor pic.twitter.com/7srHNf9aaC— T.C. Milas Belediyesi (@MilasBelediyesi) August 4, 2021
Mayor Tokat also tweeted about the resumption of the fire, asking for immediate aerial support. “The fire is at Türkevleri, right beside the thermal plant. Please evacuate the neighborhood,” he tweeted.
Yangın Türkevleri’nde, Termik Santralin dibinde. Lütfen köyü boşaltın. Tek bir kişinin burnu kanamasın! #Milas pic.twitter.com/Okmevlqz3a— Av. Muhammet Tokat (@MuhammetTokat48) August 4, 2021
A few minutes later, he shared another video showing smoke and flames rising from a hill just behind the thermal plant. “The flames have reached the thermal plant,” he said.
16.54 - Alevler termik santrale dayandı… pic.twitter.com/jxy8VcMzFZ— Av. Muhammet Tokat (@MuhammetTokat48) August 4, 2021
Most of the fires have been extinguished but local officials, many of them from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), have complained that the government response has been slow or inadequate.
Tokat said he had requested aerial support to the area around the power plant days ago while he was visiting a nearby neighborhood damaged by the blaze.
Firefighting planes from Spain and Croatia joined teams from Russia, Iran, Ukraine and Azerbaijan this week to battle blazes, after Turkey requested European support.
Opposition parties criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government for depleting firefighting resources over the years. Thousands also took to social media calling for Erdoğan to step down, while others criticized the lack of resources and what they called inadequate preparations.