Ankara, fires continue to rage

Power plant staff and flammable materials evacuated from path of flames. For two weeks more than 180 fires have plagued the Turkish coast. At least 8 dead so far.



Ankara (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Fires continue to rage in Turkey. In the south-western province of Mugla yesterday a power plant was evacuated threatened by the flames that have been tormenting the country for two weeks. This morning, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's communications director wrote on Twitter that the fires have not damaged the main units of the power plant, which is located in Kemerkoy and runs on coal and fuel oil.

Efforts to extinguish the fire were hampered by strong winds, so personnel were evacuated on a navy ship and flammable and explosive materials were removed. Earlier, hydrogen tanks used to cool the plant were emptied and filled with water as a precaution.

Environmentalists say they are concerned that the flames could spread to the plant's coal storage unit. Erdogan said 15 helicopters and 20 aircraft are engaged in the firefighting operations.

There have been 187 fires in Turkey in recent weeks that have so far killed at least eight people and destroyed entire forests on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Some 16 fires are still active. Even in Bodrum, a well-known seaside resort, at least 1,000 people have been evacuated in recent days, including many tourists.