105 Wildfires Burn Across 35 Towns in Turkey as Devastating Blazes Reach Fifth Day

At least eight people have died in Turkey as 105 wildfires across 35 towns devastated local communities in the past week, according to data from the country's forestry directorate.

The fires, which have been fueled in part by extreme summer temperatures and climate change, have been burning across the country's Mediterranean and Aegean coasts since July 28. By Monday, at least seven fires continued to burn, many of them not far from the nation's southern resort areas, including Antalya and Marmaris, the Jakarta Post reported.

Throughout the week, seven people were killed in fires in Manavgat, Antalya Province, while an eighth victim died in Marmaris. The latest victims included a Turkish-German couple found in a house, according to CNN.

In Bodrum, a popular resort town, tourists and hotel staff were evacuated by boat on Sunday as dramatic video footage showed flames and smoke filling the nearby sky. Since Wednesday, thousands of people have been told to flee their homes.

Support teams from Russia, Ukraine, Iran and Azerbaijan were deployed to help local firefighters, and at least 13 planes, 45 helicopters, drones and 828 firefighting vehicles have been involved in efforts to quell the flames, Reuters reported.

Wildfires in Turkey
A forest is seen burning as a massive wildfire engulfed a Mediterranean resort in the Marmaris district of Mugla, Turkey, on August 1, 2021. At least eight people have died in Turkey in 105 wildfires across 35 towns. Yasin AKGUL / AFP/Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that parts of five provinces on Turkey's Mediterranean coast were "disaster zones," following a helicopter visit to the areas.

"We will continue to take all steps to heal the wounds of our people, to compensate for losses and to improve opportunities to better than before," the president said in a tweet Saturday.

Erdogan faced heavy criticism over the weekend for tossing bags of tea to locals while touring one of the worst-hit regions.

"Tea! It's unbelievable. Those who lose their shame, lose their heart too," Republican People's Party (CHP) spokesman Faik Oztrak, Erdogan's main opposition tweeted in response to the visit.

Çay!
İnanılır gibi değil.
Utancı gidenin,
Kalbi de gider.

— Faik Öztrak (@faikoztrak) July 31, 2021

On Monday, the European Union said it "stands in full solidarity with Turkey at this very difficult time" and sent volunteers to help the nation fight the remaining flames.

Locals have described the situation as "really bad" and "a disaster," with many fearing that their livelihoods will be lost.

"The animals are on fire," a 56-year-old resident of Kacarlar, on Turkey's southern coast, told CNN. "Everything is going to burn. Our land, our animals and our house. What else do we have, anyway?"

In Marmaris, resident Evran Ozkan told the Jakarta Post that many in the city are unable to sleep at night knowing the wildfires continue to burn.

"Like me, many inhabitants of Marmaris cannot put their heads on their pillow to sleep peacefully while these fires burn," Ozkan said. "We must be responsible for our land to prevent our future from burning, but the situation is really bad now."

Newsweek contacted Turkey's forestry directorate for additional comment but did not hear back in time for publication.