Forest fires rage near Turkish resorts, killing three

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Ankara

Three people were reported dead Thursday and more than 100 injured as thousands of firefighters battled huge blazes spreading across the Mediterranean resort regions of Turkey’s southern coast.

Officials also launched an investigation into suspicions the fires that broke out Wednesday in four locations to the east of the tourist hotspot Antalya were the result of arson.

Turkey’s disaster and emergencies office said three people were killed — including an 82-year-old who lived alone — and 122 injured by the fires.

“Treatment of 58 of our citizens continues,” it was quoted as saying by the Anadolu state news agency.

The fires first emerged across a sparsely populated region about 75 kilometres (45 miles) east of Antalya — a resort especially popular with Russian and other eastern European tourists.

But they were creeping closer Thursday to sandy beaches dotted with hotels and resorts.
Images on social media and Turkish tv showed residents jumping out of their cars and running for their lives through smoke-filled streets lit up by orange flames.

The heavy clouds of smoke turned the sky dark orange over a beachfront hotel complex in the town of Manavgat.

Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said a hotel was also being evacuated near the tourist city of Bodrum — some 300 kilometres west of Antalya — as new fires broke out across the southern coast.

Pakdemirli said 150 cows and thousands of sheep and goats had perished in the flames.—APP

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