Fire that reached Turkey’s power plant contained, others burn

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – A forest fire that reached the compound of a coal-fired power plant in southwest Turkey and forced local residents to flee in boats and cars was brought under control on Thursday after raging for about 11 hours, officials and media said.

High winds pushed the blaze towards the Kemerkoy power station in Mugla province on Wednesday evening, prompting evacuations from the nearby resort of Oren. Navy ships were deployed to help evacuate residents, as cars formed long convoys on roads leading away from the area, Haberturk TV reported.

Turkey’s worst forest fires in decades raged for nine days amid scorching heat, low humidity and ever-changing strong winds. The fires have so far killed eight people and countless animals.

In the coastal Mugla province, where Bodrum’s tourist hotspot is located, the fires continued to burn in six areas on Thursday, officials said. Fires also raged in five districts in Antalya province, another tourist destination, where two neighborhoods were evacuated on Wednesday.

Precautions were taken before the flames reached the Kemerkoy power station. The plant’s hydrogen tanks were emptied and workers were evacuated. Flammable and explosive substances have also been removed, according to the public broadcaster TRT.

Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said an initial inspection of the plant showed that its main units had not suffered any serious damage. The private plant uses lignite to generate electricity, according to its website.

TV footage showed dozens of fire engines and tankers surrounding the main plant building, some spraying water as part of a cooling effort. The main building does not appear to have been affected.

Firefighters had been working for two days to protect the plant from the advancing flames. Videos from a nearby neighborhood of Milas showed charred and decimated trees.

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