By Vugar Khalilov
The largest wildfires in Turkish history that started in Manavgat, Antalya on July 28 have damaged 60,000 hectares of forest area across the country according to initial estimates, head of the Antalya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ATSO) Davut Chetin told Yeni Safak.
Chetin stated that it is impossible to determine the economic value of the losses in the forest, noting that millions of living creatures and trees have disappeared with the wildfires. He said that however, the volume of the economic loss in the region amounts to at least 1 billion TL (115 million dollars).
Seven people, including two foresters lost their lives and 59 neighbourhoods were severely damaged during the fires that continued for several days across 21 different points of Antalya such as Manavgat, Akseki, Gundoghmush, İbradi and Alanya borders.
The fires were brought under control on August 6 at 15.30 PM, after 220 hours of struggle. The heavy toll of the fire (that is thousands of hectares of forest land, hundreds of houses, barns and warehouses, forest and domestic animals) is gradually emerging.
Eight aircraft, two UAVs, 19 helicopters, two helicopters, an unmanned helicopter, 1,915 vehicles and 8,155 personnel were used to extinguish the wildfires in Turkey. Thousands of villagers demonstrated a great example of mobilization with volunteers from Antalya and its districts as well as from many provinces of Turkey to put out the fire, Yeni Safak said.
Some 808 of the 821 citizens who were poisoned by smoke and had various degrees of burns, were discharged after receiving oxygen and other treatments, and the treatment of six of them continues in the hospital.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, 15,000 decares of agricultural land in the region was damaged and nearly 33,000 animals died during the wildfires.
It should be noted that 950 hectares of forest area was burnt in the forest fire in Manavgat's Bucaksheyhler district back in 2007. Some 16 thousand hectares of forest area was burned in Tagil district during the fire in 2008.
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