By Mert Ozkan
MANAVGAT, Turkey (Reuters) – When a forest fire spread to his village, Turkish farmer Sercan Bayat yelled at his cows to flee the flames and prayed for his own death rather than seeing his animals perish.
Seeing his animals threatened by hell – a moment he captured on video – was the most difficult moment in the life of 30-year-old Bayat.
But although he lost eight of his cattle to the fire, he later found new life in the form of a newborn kid lying helpless but still breathing after his mother died in the ‘fire.
âTwo or three hours after the flames were out, I saw this one on the ground. It’s our baby goat now. We called it Miracle,â Bayat said.
“We found another goat in the middle of the forest fires. She has a baby. There you go. Miracle number two,” Bayat added, kissing the baby goats.
He said that although his farm in Manavgat in southern Turkey is badly damaged and he has lost some of his animals, he is now “on the moon” of child survival.
The massive forest fire was one of some 100 fires that authorities say broke out this week in southern and western Turkey. Stifling heat and strong winds fanned the flames. The death toll in the blazes rose to six on Saturday, as two firefighters died in efforts to control the blaze in Manavgat. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.
Satellite imagery showed that smoke from the Antalya and Mersin fires extended to the island of Cyprus, about 150 km (100 miles).
Forest fires are common in southern Turkey during the hot summer months, but local authorities say the latest fires have covered a much larger area.
(Written by Yesim Dikmen, edited by William Maclean)