Wildfires continued to rage near popular tourist destinations in Turkey on Sunday, a day after some hotels were evacuated and their guests taken to safety.
Five fires continued to burn near the coastal cities of Antalya and Mugla, the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, Bekir Pakdemirli, tweeted Sunday, although he said that 107 fires were “under control.”
At least six people including two firefighters have died in the raging blazes which began in 32 provinces on Wednesday, roaring through forests and sending temperatures soaring.
Thousands were forced to evacuate as they encroached on settlements and tourist destinations.
"We are now left with the clothes we are wearing, me and my wife,” Mehmet Demir told Reuters after surveying the damage at his home near Antalya. Only bedsprings, a ladder, metal chairs and some kitchenware remained.
"The blaze spread through the highlands and raged suddenly," he said, adding, “There is nothing to do. This is when words fail."
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Panicked tourists were evacuated from hotels in Antalya and Mugla on Saturday as a fire swept down a hill towards the seashore.
Police water cannons were used to control the blaze. Helicopters and fire trucks were also used to assist.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday visited some affected areas and inspected the damage from a helicopter.
Erdogan later told a news conference that the Turkish government would cover the rents for people affected by the fire and rebuild their homes.
Taxes, social security and credit payments would be postponed for those affected, he said, adding that small businesses would be offered credit with zero interest.
“We cannot do anything beyond wishing the mercy of God for the lives we have lost but we can replace everything that was burned," he said.
Heatwaves along the Mediterranean and Aegean coastal regions could be the cause of raging wildfires, according to Turkey’s meteorological authorities.
Wildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the dry summer months, but this week’s blaze is one of the worst in years.
Firefighters in Italy said on Saturday they were battling wildfires in the southern island of Sicily for the second day straight. People were forced to leave their homes, and the local airport temporarily shut down.
Temperatures in Greece and nearby countries in southeast Europe are expected to climb to more than 107 degrees Monday in many cities and towns, and are expected only to ease later in the week.