The fire started in a dumpsite in Bodrum at around 10 p.m. and quickly spread to nearby forestland due to strong winds.
Roughly 100 workers from the district's forestry department, several fire engines, almost 200 local volunteers and teams of the Turkish Search and Rescue Society (AKUT) worked for four hours to contain the fire. Yesterday, with the sunrise, a plane and two helicopters began working to saturate the area to prevent the fire from reigniting.
Homes were evacuated as a precaution when the flames got as close as 50 meters The Milas-Bodrum highway was temporarily closed to traffic to facilitate the easy passage of firefighting equipment and personnel. After containing the fire, Bodrum Mayor Mehmet Kocadon said: “We were able to extinguish the fire quickly before it turned into a true disaster because of the ready assistance of all Bodrum residents. Bodrum experienced a four-hour-long nightmare. We were lucky the wind died down at night.” Three people were taken to Bodrum state Hospital complaining of smoke inhalation.
With temperatures falling by three to five degrees Celsius in provinces such as İzmir, Antalya, Muğla, Çanakkale, Adana and Mersin, where most of Turkey's forest fires occur, the number of forest fires has decreased as of July compared to the same season last year. While a total of 6,935 hectares of forestland was consumed in 764 fires which broke out in the first seven months of last year, officials from the State Meteorology directorate have stated that the amount of land consumed by fire has been much less so far in 2009.
Noting that the efforts of the directorate in forest fire prevention have been also effective in reducing the number of forest fires, the officials stressed that high temperatures increase the risk of fires and added: “Increasing temperatures raise the temperature of materials, causing them to ignite much more easily. It also weakens the performance of firefighters intervening in fires. Moreover, it has a negative impact on firefighting planes. When all these factors are combined, fighting fire in high temperatures becomes almost impossible. However, decreasing temperatures and the efforts of the directorate helped this year's fires to be managed both much sooner and much easier.”