The recent forest fires around Fethiye show that we all need to be on our guard and do our bit to prevent these events. But what can you do to prevent forest fires?
Turkey has approximately 22 million hectares of forests, most of which is on the coasts or in the immediate hinterland, covering 26% of the country.
These forests are an important part of Turkey’s rich, diverse ecological environment as well as being productive: timber and honey being among the most important.
Whilst they can appear to be lush and green Turkey’s forests are highly vulnerable to fire during the hot and dry summer months: most frequently as a result of a cigarette carelessly thrown out of car windows, picnickers making a campfire or barbeque, which gets out of control or they fail to extinguish, or farmers burning stubble after harvesting.
Other significant causes are from hunting guns, broken electric cables or lightening, rubbish (glass) and on occasion from the deliberate and act of fire-raising.
Here are a few tips to help keep Fethiye’s wildlife safe and its environment beautiful, tidy and free from forest fires.
• Never ever throw a cigarette end out of your car window…this act is responsible for many wildfires.
• Be a responsible picnicker – If you want to have a picnic by all means do but dispose of it in an authorised rubbish bin or, even better, take it home with you.
• Don’t use barbeques in the forests. Even though you may see Turkish people doing this being caught using one could result in a heavy fine and more. Even if you are using one at home be very careful to keep sparks away from dry vegetation. It’s a good idea to keep some buckets of water to hand, just in case.
• Don’t release Chinese lanterns during the summer months. They may be very pretty to watch as they float through the night sky but they can be extremely dangerous and have the potential to start a fire if they land back on the earth still alight.
Enjoy Fethiye’s marvellous countryside but please watch our for fire risks.