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Marmaris fire blazes for third day near resort in Turkey

Reuters footage showed smoke billowing from the hills as the blaze spread through woods in the sparsely populated area, helicopters and planes dropping water on the flames throughout the daytime.

Police assisted firefighters with water cannon vehicles as they sought to put out the blaze which broke out around 8pm local time on Tuesday and affected more than 8,400 acres (3,400) hectares of lands.

More than 1,100 vehicles, along with 61 helicopters and 13 planes were on duty Friday to deploy in the firefighting effort.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said one person was arrested and he admitted to having set fire to the forest out of frustration due to family issues. The official Anadolu news agency reports that he was found in the forest with two cans of gasoline.

The blaze was fanned by high winds in the area, and Forestry and Agriculture Minister Vahit Kirisci told reporters on Friday that there would be more “high temperatures and wind from this afternoon”.

“We are racing against the clock before the expected wind,” a spokesman for the Mugla province forestry department told reporters on Friday.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Thursday evening that 29 people had been affected by the fires, two of whom are still being treated in hospital. Some 274 people were evacuated as a precaution, officials said.

Turkey was the country most affected by the Mediterranean fires last year, which burned more than 206,000 hectares of its territory, according to the European Forest Fire Information System.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been criticized for being unprepared to fight the 2021 fires, including a lack of planes and helicopters.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said on Wednesday that the government was “incompetent” and had not stepped up its preparedness after last year’s fires.

cnn Eur