ANKARA (Reuters) -A wildfire burned Wednesday in the Turkish port town of Marmaris, a tourist destination on the Aegean Sea, and a firefighting helicopter crashed, killing two people on board and injuring five others.
The Mugla local governor’s office said the fire erupted in forests around the Yalancibogaz area. Television images showed heavy smoke rising from mountains bordering the sea.
Winds blowing at 14 km (9 miles) per hour were fuelling the blaze, the Mugla municipality office said. Fifteen helicopters and eight planes were dumping water on the fire, while hundreds of personnel and dozens of water trucks and police water cannons worked on the ground to extinguish it.
Turkey’s interior ministry said in a statement that the firefighting helicopter crashed near Cardak province, some 200 km (125 miles) away from the wildfire. The helicopter was carrying two Turkish and five Russian personnel, it said.
Human-induced climate change is making heatwaves more likely and more severe, scientists say.
Last summer’s wildfires, most of which also occurred near Marmaris, were the most intense on record in Turkey, a European Union atmosphere monitor said at the time, adding that the Mediterranean had become a wildfire hot spot.
The government came under criticism for its inadequate response and preparedness to fight large-scale wildfires, including a lack of modern firefighting planes.
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alex Richardson)