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Wildfires Are Driving People Out Of Turkish Vacation Spots

A woman leaves with her animals from an advancing fire that rages Hisaronu area, Turkey, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.
A woman leaves with her animals from an advancing fire that rages Hisaronu area, Turkey, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.

Turkey's skies are yellow with smokey haze from wildfires.

Thousands have fled coastal towns, both residents and tourists, to escape the flames that have been blazing on the country's southern coast for six days. In Mugla province, 10,000 people were evacuated, according to Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. Some have escaped by car, others by boat.

The death toll has risen to eight.

People wait near wildfires in the rural area of Marmaris, district of Mugla, on August 1 2021.
Yasin Akgul / AFP via Getty Images
People wait near wildfires in the rural area of Marmaris, district of Mugla, on August 1.
A woman takes a selfie on the beach as smoke billows from a massive forest fire which engulfed a Mediterranean resort region on Turkey's southern coast near the town of Manavgat, on July 29, 2021.
Ilyas Akengin / AFP via Getty Images
A woman takes a selfie on the beach as smoke billows from a massive forest fire which engulfed a Mediterranean resort region on Turkey's southern coast near the town of Manavgat, on July 29.

The fires are part of over 100 blazes that broke out across more than 30 Turkish provinces, most of which have been contained or extinguished. Fed by strong winds and high temperatures, experts are pointing to climate change and human accidents as the culprits, although the causes of the fires remain under investigation. Southern Europe currently bakes in a heat wave that has also fed wildfires in Greece and Sicily.

Charred and blackened trees in Cokertme village, near Bodrum, Mugla, Turkey, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021.
Emre Tazegu / AP
Charred and blackened trees are seen in Cokertme village, near Bodrum, Mugla, Turkey on Tuesday.

Fighting the flames are locals and planes sent from the European Union, Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Spain, Iran and Azerbaijan, their crews working in Antalya and Mugla provinces to fight nine fires, and more active fires in the Isparta, Denizli, Izmir and Adana provinces.

The flames have destroyed farms, homes and forests, and killed livestock. Satellite photos released by Turkey show a blackened coastline that stretches for miles.

"We are going through days when the heat is above 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), where the winds are strong and humidity is extremely low," Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said. "We are struggling under such difficult conditions."

A satellite photo from the Turkish military shows wildfires in Mugla, Turkey, on Sunday.
Turkish National Defense Ministry / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A satellite photo from the Turkish military shows wildfires in Mugla, Turkey, on Sunday.

Josie Fischels is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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