Wildfires Force Turkish Cities to Bar Entry to Forests

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Major Turkish cities, including Istanbul, barred people from entering nearby forests and national parks after a spate of wildfires overwhelmed firefighters and claimed four lives.

The decision by Turkey’s largest city and some others came as flames raged through forests along the country’s southern Mediterranean coast and further inland. In one popular tourism spot, Manavgat, more than 2,300 homes were affected with thousands of residents evacuated, state media reported.

More than 60 locations have reported blazes in a matter of days, prompting an investigation into possible sabotage.

This week’s wildfires are the worst since 2019, when Turkish officials accused a group linked to the Kurdish militant group PKK, which has been engaged in a decades-long struggle for autonomy with security forces, of starting forest fires.

But scientists warn they may well have been caused by hot and dry weather, with much of Turkey facing near-record high temperatures. Human-caused climate change has led to global average temperatures increasing about 1.1 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times, which studies show is leading to more extreme heatwaves.

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