Between rising sea levels and super hurricanes, a summer day at the beach isn’t as relaxing as it used to be. And now, thousands of tourists trying to have fun at popular resorts on Turkey’s Aegean coast have been evacuated due to epic wildfires. At least eight people have perished, and boats rescued thousands of holidaymakers from resorts.
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While resort evacuations are high on the international visibility scale, local people suffer the most. “I feel so much pain, like I lost a child,” said Nurten Almaz, a 63-year-old farmer who lost everything, including her home, animals and “one century of people’s labor,” as reported by ABC News. She said people who started the fire deserve the death penalty. Locals fled in cars and small boats. Coast guard and navy ships lingered offshore, in case larger vessels were needed.
The fires sweeping through the resort areas of Antalya and Muğla weren’t just any fires. According to satellite data, this wildfire was burning at 20 gigawatts, four times more intensely than any fire in Turkey’s recorded history.
Turkey often battles wildfires in the summer, but these fires are something new. “Those numbers are off the scale compared to the last 19 years,” said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist with the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, as reported by The Guardian.
Ibrahim Aydın, a farmer, was almost killed trying to fight the fire. All his livestock died. “Everything I had was burned to the ground. I lost lambs and other animals,” he told the Daily Sabah. “This is not normal. This was like hell.”
Turkey’s weather is extremely hot and dry this summer, and August has barely started. Conditions are perfect for more of the same. “Our smallest mistake leads to great disaster,” Turkish climate scientist Levent Kurnaz said in a tweet.
Temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, are forecast this week for the Mediterranean region, including inland areas of Turkey, Greece, Italy and Tunisia. Ankara and some other places in Turkey are expecting weather 12 degrees Celsius higher than average for August.
Lead image via Pexels