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Wildfire that threatened Turkey power plant contained

Officials say the fire did not damage the main units of the Kemerkoy coal-fuelled power plant in Mugla, southwest Turkey but forced nearby residents to flee in boats and cars.

A wildfire in Mugla province reached the Kemerkoy power plant on Wednesday, Aug 4, 2021. (Fatih Kurt / AA)

A wildfire that reached the compound of a coal-fuelled power plant in southwest Turkey and forced nearby residents to flee in boats and cars was contained after raging for some 11 hours.

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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 more than a week now amid scorching heat, low humidity and constantly shifting strong winds.

At least eight people have been killed as more than 150 wildfires have erupted since last week.

Thousands, including foreign tourists, have been forced to flee homes and hotels near the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.

Main units undamaged

The fire did not damage the main units of the Kemerkoy plant, President Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, said on Twitter on Thursday.

“The main units of the power station were not seriously damaged according to the initial examination following the evacuation of the facility,” Altun said.

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.

The privately run plant uses lignite to generate electricity, according to its website.

Environmentalists have said they were concerned about the impact if the fire spreads to the plant’s coal storage unit.

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 neighbourhoods were evacuated on Wednesday.

A coal-fuelled power plant in southwest Turkey and nearby residential areas have been evacuated as flames from a wildfire reached inside the plant.

Local reporters said the wildfires also prompted the evacuation of the nearby seaside area of Oren.

Ahead of fire reaching the power plant in resort city Mugla’s Milas district, residents were evacuated to safer areas by navy ships, Turkey’s Defence Ministry said in a statement.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Turkey’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said all personnel at Kemerkoy power plant in Turkevleri district have been evacuated as part of safety measures.

Authorities said safety precautions have been taken at the power plant and its hydrogen tanks had been emptied and it carries no explosion risk.

The privately-run plant uses lignite to generate electricity, according to its website. It’s unclear if the plant still had coal inside.

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