Turkey battles wildfires for 6th day; 10,000 are evacuated

BOZALAN, Turkey — Selcuk Sanli set his two cows loose, put his family’s most treasured belongings in a car and fled his home as a wildfire approached his village near Turkey’s beach resort of Bodrum, one of thousands fleeing flames that have coated the skies with a thick yellow haze.

For the sixth straight day, Turkish firefighters battled Monday to control the blazes that are tearing through forests near Turkey’s beach destinations. Fed by strong winds and scorching temperatures, the fires that began Wednesday have left eight people dead. Residents and tourists have fled vacation resorts in flotillas of small boats or convoys of cars and trucks. Many villagers have lost their homes and farm animals and have had trouble breathing amid the heavy smoke.

Overall, some 10,000 people have been evacuated in Mugla province alone, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Monday.

Sanli returned to check on his house Monday in Bozalan only to find that the fire had flared.

“Property is an important part of life but life itself comes first,” he said as he prepared to leave once again.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said on Twitter that crews were still tackling nine fires in the coastal provinces of Antalya and Mugla that are popular tourist areas. Other active fires were in the provinces of Isparta, Denizli, Izmir and Adana.

Another fire in Tunceli, in southeast Turkey, was contained on Monday, the minister said earlier. In all, 137 fires that broke out in over 30 provinces since Wednesday have been extinguished.

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