ANKARA: A wildfire that reached the compound of a coal-fueled power plant in southwest Turkey and forced nearby residents to flee in boats and cars was contained on Thursday after raging for some 11 hours, officials and media reports said.
Strong winds drove the fire toward the Kemerkoy power plant in Mugla province late Wednesday, prompting evacuations from the nearby seaside resort of Oren. Navy vessels were deployed to help ferry away residents, while cars formed long convoys on roads leading away from the area, Haberturk television reported.
Turkey's worst wildfires in decades have raged for nine days amid scorching heat, low humidity and constantly shifting strong winds. The fires have so far killed eight people and countless animals.
In coastal Mugla province, where tourist hot spot Bodrum is located, fires continued to burn in six areas on Thursday, officials said. Fires also raged in five districts of Antalya province, another tourism destination, where two neighborhoods were evacuated on Wednesday.
Precautions were taken before the flames reached the Kemerkoy power plant. The plants hydrogen tanks were emptied, and workers were evacuated. Flammable and explosive substances had also been removed, according to state broadcaster TRT.
Turkish presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun said an initial inspection of the power plant showed its main units suffered no serious damage. The privately run plant uses lignite to generate electricity, according to its website.
Television images showed dozens of fire trucks and water tankers surrounding the plant’s main building, some dousing water as part of a cooling effort. The main building did not appear to have been affected.
Firefighters had been working for two days to protect the power plant from advancing flames. Videos from an adjacent neighborhood in Milas showed charred, decimated trees.