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Azerbaijan sends amphibious plane to help fight wildfires in Turkiye [VIDEO]

24 June 2022 [12:50] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Vugar Khalilov

Azerbaijan has sent an amphibious plane to help Turkiye with extinguishing wildfires, Azernews reports per the Emergencies Ministry.

In line with the presidential order, a BE-200CS amphibious plane of the Azerbaijani Emergencies Ministry left for Dalaman Airport in Mugla region of Turkiye to help prevent and extinguish forest fires in the “brotherly country”, said the ministry.

According to the report, the aircraft landed at the location on the evening of June 23, and it will begin firefighting operations the following morning.

On June 21, the first significant forest fire of the "fire season" engulfed the southern Aegean town of Marmaris. Since the incident broke out about 2000 local time, firefighters fought to put out the flames that spread over woodland in the Bordubet district, Azernews reports, citing Turkish media.

The reason for the fire in the town of Mugla province remains unknown. The wind caused the fires to spread quickly.

According to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), 1,393 individuals, including 592 staff from the General Directorate of Forestry, as well as 338 vehicles and 35 pieces of construction equipment from various institutions and organizations, were involved in firefighting activities.

Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahit Kirisci and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu inspected the fire-hit area from the air. "It's not a fire that should worry us much, given the current circumstances. But the position we are in right now is of course a bit critical," Kirisci said after the inspections.

The darkness made it difficult for firefighters battling fires on the ground with minimal aircraft backup. When the sun came up, 20 helicopters and 14 planes began dousing the flames in a 250-hectare area (617 acres). As a precaution, 30 homes near the fire core were evacuated.

The fire started in a sparsely inhabited neighborhood, far from the main streets of Marmaris, one of Mugla's most popular tourist destinations, along with Bodrum. Both communities were devastated by wildfires in 2021, losing a significant amount of land to the flames.

Indeed, last summer's fires in Turkiye were the most severe on record, according to a European Union atmosphere monitor, who added that the Mediterranean had become a hotspot for wildfires. According to experts, human-caused climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of heat waves.

In 2021, Azerbaijan sent four groups of firefighters and rescuers, as well as amphibious aircraft to extinguish wildfires in Turkiye.

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