Fire near Turkish power plant under control - local mayor


Flames and smoke fill the sky as residents watch the wildfire next to a thermal power station near Cokertme, a village in Bodrum region, Turkey, August 3, 2021. REUTERS/Kenan Gurbuz

MILAS, Turkey (Reuters) - A blaze threatening a coal-fired power plant in southwestern Turkey is under control, local authorities said on Wednesday, as firefighters battled coastal wildfires for an eighth day.

"The flames reached the wall of the power plant last night. The fire is now out," Milas Mayor Muhammet Tokat told Reuters.

Two planes and four helicopters had helped firefighters on the ground to douse the flames, he said, and the power plant had resumed operations.

Authorities say more than 150 wildfires have erupted in the last week across southwestern Turkey, the worst outbreak in years, fanned by hot summer temperatures, low humidity and strong winds. Eight people have been killed and thousands evacuated, including tourists.

Most of the fires have been extinguished but local officials, many of them from the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), have complained that the government response has been slow or inadequate.

Tokat said he had requested aerial support to the area around the power plant days ago while he was visiting a nearby neighbourhood damaged by the blaze.

Tanks with flammable materials at the plant were emptied as a precaution, a reporter with Demiroren news agency said, and ditches had been dug as firebreaks.

Firefighting planes from Spain and Croatia joined teams from Russia, Iran, Ukraine and Azerbaijan this week to battle blazes, after Turkey requested European support.

Opposition parties criticised President Tayyip Erdogan and his government for depleting firefighting resources over the years. Thousands also took to social media calling for Erdogan to step down, while others criticised the lack of resources and what they called inadequate preparations.

(Addional reporting by Yesim Dikmen; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Dominic Evans and Toby Chopra)

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