Our Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Bekir Pakdemirli made an assessment about the fires that broke out between 28 July and 5 August at the press conference he held with the Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu at the AFAD Coordination Center in Marmaris.
“44 forest fires broke out in 197 provinces. 185 under control.” Pakdemirli said, adding that efforts to extinguish 5 forest fires in 12 provinces continue.
Pakdemirli continued his speech as follows: “There are ongoing fires in Manavgat and Gündoğmuş in Antalya. Marmaris, Köyceğiz, Kavaklıdere, Milas, Yılanlı and Seydikemer fires continue in Muğla. Fires in Karacasu in Aydın, Sütçüler in Isparta and Güney in Denizli continue. In addition, fire response was made in 126 rural areas. These works continue with 16 water-throwing aircraft, 9 unmanned aerial vehicles, 56 helicopters, 1 unmanned helicopter, 850 sprinkler and water tankers, 150 construction equipment, 5 thousand 250 personnel in the ongoing fires.”
Minister Pakdemirli stated that the temperature, low humidity and increased wind negatively affected the situation of the fire and said, “We are constantly sharing it. Average temperatures of 38-40 degrees are expected to be between 5-36 degrees in 42-day averages. No precipitation is expected for a week throughout Muğla. Winds are expected from the southwest and south at speeds of 20 to 40 kilometers per hour on Friday. 30 to 50 kilometers from the north on Saturday, 40 to 60 kilometers in the afternoon… We expect the wind to lose its effect on Sunday. The 5-day humidity is around 20 percent during the day and 40 to 50 percent at night.” made its assessment.
Referring to the damage assessment studies, Pakdemirli said, “5 thousand 18 farmers, 99 thousand decares of land, 3 decares of greenhouse production area, 714 cattle, 31 thousand 668 small cattle, 397 thousand 3 beehives, 961 agricultural buildings in 4 provinces, 856 districts, 1353 villages, 1137 tools-machines and 2 thousand 88 tons of warehouse products were affected. Again, within the scope of TARSİM, we have received the note of 108 notices with an insurance cost of 555 million liras and we continue to work. These payments will be made as soon as possible after the damage assessments are completed.” he said.
“23 AIRCRAFT FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AGAIN SUPPORT THIS FLEET”
Pakdemirli said that there was no significant damage in the first determinations regarding Kemerköy Thermal Power Plant.
Stating that the number of vehicles should also be taken into account in responding to fires, Pakdemirli gave the following information:
“We need to not only talk about airplanes and helicopters, but also other machinery, equipment and, most importantly, the number of people. Against the increasing fires within the framework of risk management, we rapidly increased the air and land response vehicles. For example, on 28 July, we responded to 49 fires with 1 aircraft, 21 helicopters and 206 water sprinklers in our inventory. After August 31, we continue our effective intervention with 107 planes, 6 helicopters, 36 water tanks and water tankers.”
Pakdemirli said that they have experienced 2 major fires in the last 5 years, but they have experienced ongoing fires, of which 9 were major fires, in the last 15 days.
Expressing that they also made reinforcements to the existing firefighting fleet due to the fires, Pakdemirli said:
“A total of 16 aircraft, 56 helicopters and 7 gendarmerie helicopters support our fleet. 23 aircraft from different countries also support this fleet. 5 tanker aircraft and 3 helicopters from Russia, 3 tanker aircraft, 4 helicopters from Ukraine, 2 amphibious aircraft from Spain, 1 amphibious aircraft from Croatia, 1 tanker aircraft, 2 helicopters, and 1 aircraft from Azerbaijan and we continue our air-fighting efforts with 1 helicopter. On the basis of personnel and vehicles, 53 fire extinguishers and 500 personnel joined us. Azerbaijan Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations is here with us. Again, 65 search and rescue personnel from Qatar continue their work in the field.”
“BURN AREAS ARE NOT USED FOR OTHER PURPOSE”
Pointing out that the burned areas will be reforested, Pakdemirli said, “According to Article 169 of the Constitution, the burned areas are reforested and cannot be used for any other purpose. After the fires are cooled, damage will be determined as soon as possible, the burning trees will be removed from the field as soon as possible, and the planting of saplings will begin after the first rain.” he said.
Giving information about the works to be done, Pakdemirli continued as follows:
“We will rehabilitate the burned areas and make them ready for planting. The new afforestation will also be compatible with the natural vegetation. 252 million saplings in total with the Breathe for the Future Campaign; In fact, there is one important thing about this: We will definitely plant three saplings, ie 84 million times 3 million saplings, before the end of the year for every citizen of the Republic of Turkey. Our main goal here, our main criterion, is to plant together with our citizens in the field, but of course, as the forestry organization, we will assist in the preparation and planting of these plantings as much as possible.”
Pakdemirli said, “I would like to say that many processes will be revised both in the public sector and in our ministry according to the Fire Fighting Action Plans and global warming and climate change.” used the phrase.
“MEDITERRANEAN FOREST FIRES FIGHTING UNION”
Emphasizing that forest villagers must be supported more, Pakdemirli said, “How can we protect the forest more? I would like to say that while our forest villagers live together with the forest, we can take some steps towards more income and more forest ownership.” said.
Pakdemirli continued his words as follows: “Mediterranean Forest Fire Fighting Union; The time has come for us to establish such a union. Because it is understood that we will experience acute periods together with hot weather and global warming from now on. We think that it is important to establish a union where countries can exchange their own forces, reserve forces and beyond, share machinery, equipment and aircraft, and of course, share their training, especially in this combat unit, in order to overcome the acute periods. We will be sharing this, especially with the countries in the Mediterranean climate zone, in the coming days.”
“WE HAVE A FIRST RESPONSE TEAM AT 1667 POINTS”
Pointing out that the forestry organization is one of the leading institutions in the world, Pakdemirli continued as follows:
“We have a first responder team at 1667 points. I see that most of the discussions in the public are over airplanes, helicopters and other issues, but our most important asset, our most important jewel, is our human resources. We have a first responder team at 1667 points. We have water intake pools at thousands of points. We have a total of 21 thousand 90 personnel and we have a total of over 4 thousand 300 ground response vehicles of different types. If we compare the total capacity of aircraft with 2002, we have an increase of 75 percent. Our water capacity, which was 2002 tons in 68, increased to 2021 tons in 119 and we started to use UAVs for the first time. Again, this is an issue that is not talked about in public, but the use of military UAVs in the fight against forest fires is the first in the world according to one opinion, and the second according to another opinion, which Turkey has dealt with. Let's face it, we're second only to the United States. It is not used in any country, and especially those coming from many countries, a team coming from Canada to the training 'What are you doing?' asked. We said these, these, and there is a UAV. After seeing the UAVs, the program you run here, modeling, fire forecasting, fire-related simulations, 'We have nothing more to tell you.' they said. This is what our forest department was told. The use of UAVs is extremely important. In all fires, including yesterday's fires, we have access to this information whenever we want. Last year we tried it somewhere, this year we started using 9 UAVs, 10 drones and unmanned helicopters.”
Expressing that the forest organization, which does all these, has the duty of both protecting and increasing the green, Pakdemirli said, “This organization, which has brought 19 billion saplings to the soil in the last 5,5 years, has increased our forest assets by 19 million hectares in 2 years. In terms of forest assets, we ranked 2015th in 46 and 2020th in 27. We rank first in Europe and fourth in the world in afforestation. In other words, we are in the fourth place in the world in terms of increasing forest existence and greenery. From now on, we are ambitious in this regard and we are determined to be among the best countries in the world. Again in 2019, we all met together on the National Afforestation Day. This was one of the biggest campaigns in the history of the Republic. Now I hope to meet you all together again this autumn.” made its assessment.
“WE WANT A LOT MORE PATIENCE FROM OUR CITIZENS”
Underlining that Turkey is struggling with an unprecedented acute event, Minister Pakdemirli concluded his words as follows:
“We ask for a little more patience from our citizens. Our forest organization is struggling to protect the green homeland. My team, my organization is tired at the moment, but still motivated and still very eagerly working on putting out these fires as soon as possible. I think it's a day of fighting flames, not arguing. I advise everyone to stay away from polemics and information pollution. I'm just saying that it's very important to rely on official statements. As it has been until today, Turkey has the means and ability to green every inch of this paradise country. The forest organization is capable in this regard. I say that we must be conscious about not burning and polluting as well as extinguishing it. I ask for a little more patience from our citizens regarding these fires.”