At least 11 killed in southeast Turkey wildfires


wildlife fire

At least 11 people have lost their lives and dozens more have been injured as wildfires tore through several villages in predominantly Kurdish southeastern Turkey. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced the fatalities from the blaze, which occurred overnight between Diyarbakir and Mardin. He reported on social media that 78 individuals were injured, with at least five in critical condition in intensive care units.

The fire, which began with the burning of crop stubble, rapidly spread through the villages of Koksalan, Yazcicegi, and Bagacik due to strong winds. Dramatic images shared on social media showed a massive inferno lighting up the night sky, with thick clouds of smoke rising into the air. Four emergency teams and 35 ambulances were dispatched to the area, and by Friday, firefighters had successfully brought the blaze under control, according to Diyarbakir Governor Ali Ihsan Su. However, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM) criticised the government’s response as “late and insufficient,” calling for the use of water bombers.

In a related development, an investigation into the fire’s cause has been initiated by the public prosecutor’s office, as stated by Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc. Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya detailed that the fire began late Thursday approximately 30km south of Diyarbakir and spread quickly due to high winds, impacting five villages. Meanwhile, in northwestern Turkey, firefighters were contending with another wildfire near Ayvacik in Canakkale province. Although no injuries were reported, the small village of Camkoy was evacuated as a precaution. This incident is one of several wildfires in Canakkale amid high winds and scorching temperatures, contributing to the 74 wildfires that have ravaged 12,910 hectares of land in Turkey this year, according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).