Power Plant in Turkey Burns Partially Amid Hellish Wildfires

Eight people and countless animals have lost their lives since the fires began.
Derya Ozdemir

A harrowing number of wildfires have engulfed the northern hemisphere, with some of the deadliest fires in decades raging in the United States, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and others. 

Turkey is fighting "the worst wildfires in its history," with unstoppable fires devastating thousands of hectares of forest and forcing thousands of locals and tourists to flee. Since the fires began last week, eight people and countless animals have lost their lives.

After destroying swaths of coastal forest, fires spread to a coal-fueled power plant, Kemerkoy Thermal Power Plant in Mugla’s Turkevleri district, on Wednesday, August 4, which uses lignite to generate electricity, AP reports.

The efforts to extinguish the fire that encircled the power plant were hindered by the strong winds in the area, forcing locals to be evacuated in boats and cars.

The fire in the power plant yard was put out on Thursday after blazing for almost 11 hours, according to reports by officials and media sources. "The fire in thermal power plant yard has been put out. There were no explosions in the plant and no chemicals were spread," Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said in a statement. "The main units of the power station were not seriously damaged according to the initial examination following the evacuation of the facility," Altun wrote.

Before the fire reached the power plant, the hydrogen tanks used to cool the station were emptied and filled with water, personnel was evacuated, and flammable and explosive substances were removed as a precaution, as reported by state broadcaster TRT.

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In the last nine days, more than 150 fires, exacerbated by scorching heat and strong, dry winds, have broken out in southwestern Turkey and have burnt more than three times the area affected in an average year, according to Reuters.

While Turkey has managed to put out some of the fires in over 30 regions, new fires are flaring up in many locations. A forestry authority official warned that the Kemerkoy Thermal Power Plant and another nearby power station could still be still at risk due to the unpredictable winds.

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