ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — More than 1,000 people were evacuated as firefighters on Thursday battled a wildfire in southern Turkey for a second day.
The fire broke out in the district of Gulnar, in the Mediterranean coastal province of Mersin on Wednesday and spread to parts of the nearby district of Silifke, fanned by winds.
At least 29 water-dropping helicopters, 11 planes and about 850 personnel were involved in the effort to extinguish the blaze, according to Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency, AFAD.
Hundreds of homes and at least two hotels were evacuated as a precaution, AFAD said. Seven people who were affected by the fire were being treated in hospitals.
A highway linking Mersin to the nearby province of Antalya, was also closed as a precaution but was reopened on Thursday, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Last summer, blazes that were fed by strong winds and scorching temperatures tore through forests in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions, killing at least eight people and countless animals.
The government came under criticism for its inadequate response and preparedness to fight large-scale wildfires, including a lack of modern firefighting planes.