By Mert Ozkan and Umit Bektas
MILAS, Turkey (Reuters) – A forest fire was approaching a power plant in southwest Turkey on Friday, local officials said, a day after firefighters contained a blaze around another factory neighbor, as a forest fire entered its 10th day.
Tens of thousands of hectares of forest have been destroyed in the Mediterranean and Aegean provinces in what President Tayyip Erdogan has called the worst forest fire ever recorded in Turkey. Eight people died and thousands of Turks and tourists fled.
A fire in Mugla province, where the main tourist resorts of Bodrum and Marmaris are located, was burning about 5 km (3 miles) from the Yenikoy coal-fired power plant, a forestry agency official said.
Heavy security measures were taken around the factory as the blaze approached the nearby area of Bayirkoy, according to the Municipality of Milas, where the factory is located.
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Fire crews have arrived there from Marmaris, where other forest fires have now been put out, he said.
TWELVE FIRES STILL BURNING
Strong winds, low humidity and temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 ° F) contributed to the spread of the fires, which also affected neighboring Greece.
Forest fires had also threatened the Kemerkoy power station on the Mediterranean coast, about 15 km (9 miles) from Yenikoy, but the fire was extinguished early Thursday.
Firefighters have contained 196 forest fires in the past 10 days, with 12 forest fires in progress, according to Turkey’s communications directorate.
Mugla was one of the hardest hit areas. The provincial municipality said 55,000 hectares had been burned – more than double the area burned across Turkey last year – and 36,000 people evacuated.
Turkish authorities have been accused of not preparing for the threat after official data showed they had spent only a fraction of the modest funds budgeted to prevent wildfires this year.
Hundreds of people have sought medical attention for the 180 fires that have broken out since July 28, most of which have been discharged from hospital.
(Reporting by Mert Ozkan, Umit Bektas, Yesim Dikmen; writing by Daren Butler; editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
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