Wildfire fanned by strong winds rages through a forest area near coastal province Antalya's Manavgat town, officials say, forcing evacuations in four neighbourhoods.
Authorities have evacuated homes in southern Turkey as a wildfire fanned by strong winds raged through a forest area near the Mediterranean coastal town of Manavgat.
Residents of four neighbourhoods in the town were told to move out of the fire's path as firefighters worked to control the blaze, Manavgat Mayor Sukru Sozen said on Wednesday.
"It's an unbelievably bad sight," Sozen told CNN Turk.
Sozen said flames had spread as far as the town centre, where many buildings were being evacuated. TV footage showed residents running for their cars as streets were engulfed in smoke.
"It's growing even more with the wind. It's impossible for us to determine the size of the damage, there is damage in the villages too. We have not seen anything like this," Sozen told broadcaster Haberturk.
At least 62 people were reportedly injured including three victims who were treated for burns, another two for fractures and 57 others for exposure to smoke. More than 50 people were discharged after treatment.
BREAKING: A massive forest fire in Manavgat district of Antalya has reached residential areas, houses have been burned, multiple neighborhoods have been evacuated as fire continues to grow in Turkey pic.twitter.com/zkPHm0coZf— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) July 28, 2021
It was not immediately clear how many people had been affected but broadcaster NTV said 20 buildings housing around 500 people had burned down in one part of the town.
Patients at a state hospital in Manavgat were being transferred to another hospital as a precaution, NTV reported.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.
Turkey's AFAD disaster agency said emergency teams from nearby provinces were also called into action, while authorities evacuated settlements near the forest.
Forest fire in #Manavgat— dokuz8NEWS (@dokuz8news) July 28, 2021
The forest fires started in four different parts of Antalya, have spread to the residential areas. “We do not know what we are dealing with,” Mayor of Manavgat, a district of Antalya, said. pic.twitter.com/ATBs6EDQyj
Minister promises probe
Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said authorities were battling the flames with a firefighting plane, 19 helicopter s, 108 vehicles and some 400 personnel.
Winds of up to 50 kilometres an hour were fanning the flames, he added.
"Our job now is to fight the fire," the minister said in televised remarks. "There will be an investigation and the causes will be determined later."
Footage on social media and Turkish TV showed rescuers dumping fire retardant from helicopters on burning buildings and fields.
Local officials said the fire was partially under control.
Massive fire in Manavgat, Turkey spreading into settlement areas. pic.twitter.com/jXJwqr0vCG— Hatice AVCI ‘Deniz’ (@HaticeDenizAVCI) July 28, 2021
Popular coastal region
Thick plumes of black smoke shot up into the sky some 75 kilometres east of the Turkish resort city of Antalya.
The coastal region around Antalya is a popular summer resort destination for European tourists — especially those from Russia and parts of eastern Europe.
Antalya mayor Muhittin Bocek said the fire posed no risk to the resort.
"Thankfully, we have had no losses of life," Bocek told NTV television. Flames appeared to have erupted at four locations at once, he added.
"This suggests an arson attack, but we do not have clear information about that at this stage."
Wildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the arid summer months, although some forest fires have been blamed on arson.
The fire comes as Turkey battles with a series of disasters caused by extreme weather conditions in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, flash floods in the Black Sea provinces of Rize and Artvin damaged homes and property.
The floods killed six people in Rize, according to AFAD.