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Wildfires threaten Turkish beaches resorts, forcing tourists to flee

As more bodies were discovered, wildfires erupted Sunday near Turkey's vacation beach destinations of Antalya & Mugla.

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Wildfires threaten Turkish beaches resorts, forcing tourists to flee

This led to an increase in the death toll to eight. Tourists and residents fled the danger in small boats, while the coast guard and two naval ships waited at sea for larger evacuations.

Authorities advised residents and tourists to continue evacuating Turunc in Mugla province's seaside resort of Marmaris. Strong winds and fires made it more difficult to extinguish the flames. The helicopter was unable to reach the fires and attempted to put them out.

Residents of Marmaris villages pleaded for more assistance on social media. People boarded small boats with suitcases and hopped aboard. Others waited impatiently to see if there was a fire at the shore.

Turkish news agency DHA reported that the bodies of a Turkish and German couple were discovered in their home in Manavgat in Antalya. Residents were evacuated in trucks as fires threatened a nearby village.

The situation was made worse by high temperatures and strong winds. Antalya recorded 42 degrees Celsius (above 107 degrees Fahrenheit), five to six degrees Celsius higher than the seasonal averages.

Police water cannons were used to stop riots. They also helped fire trucks and helicopters in Mugla's district of Bodrum fight fires. Turkish television showed that fires had rekindled after being extinguished earlier. Smoke and flames were approaching a village.

Although civilians tried to protect olive groves and homes, some houses had already been damaged. Tourists in Bodrum were seen on social media rolling their bags as they tried to flee the flames.

Fahrettin Koca (the health minister) stated that at least 27 victims of the fires were still being treated in hospitals, while hundreds more had been evacuated.

Bekir Pakdemirli (Minister of Forestry and Agriculture) tweeted that the 111 wildfires in Turkey were under control. In his tweets, he said that wildfires have been erupting in 33 provinces since Wednesday.

On Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdan visited some of the most affected areas and promised that he would help rebuild homes. However, social media users criticised him for arriving at Marmaris in a large convoy that created more traffic.

Turkish authorities claim they are investigating whether the fires were started by Kurdish militants. Experts however, mostly point to climate change and accidents caused by humans. Erdogan claimed that one of the fires was set by children.

Hot air from North Africa has caused a heat wave in southern Europe. This led to wildfires on the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and western Greece. Some residents were forced to evacuate their homes by boat.

According to LaPresse, Italian news agency LaPresse, Sunday afternoon saw bathers at an Italian beach south-east of Pescara fleeing when they saw smoke rising from a fire in a nearby forest. According to reports, several people were injured trying to extinguish wind-whipped flames from their homes. Officials in Pescara told state television that an elderly house had to be evacuated.

In Turkey's eastern Van province over the weekend, at least six homes were destroyed by floods after a small river burst during heavy rains. Villagers were told to move to higher places and leave their homes.

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