Death toll rising in Turkey blazes and evacuation in progress

Firefighters continued to battle raging wildfires in southern Turkey Friday that have killed at least four people and forced the evacuation of villages and hotels. About 70 wildfires have broken out across 17 provinces on the country’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts this week, according to local officials, fanned by strong winds and scorching temperatures.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that crews were still trying to contain them in 14 locations after bringing 57 other wildfires under control since Wednesday. Blazes were also still burning in the Mediterranean resort region of Antalya and the Aegean resort province of Mugla. Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said the uncontained wildfires were in six provinces and vowed to hold accountable anyone found to be responsible for starting them. Authorities said Thursday that investigations into the fires had begun. Wildfires have broken out elsewhere in the region, with more than 40 burning in Greece in the last 24 hours, fanned by winds and soaring temperatures, authorities said. On Tuesday, a blaze tore through a pine forest north of Athens, damaging more than a dozen homes before it was brought under control. Fires also burned large swathes of pine forest in the mountainous north of Lebanon this week, killing at least one firefighter and forcing some residents to flee.