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Under a rust brown sky: Lethal wildfires menace Turkish resorts

A rash of wildfires across a swath of southern Turkey over the past two days has killed at least four people, injured dozens more and forced residents and tourists to evacuate villages, towns and some of the country’s most popular resort areas.

Turkish authorities said they had battled nearly 60 fires across 17 provinces as temperatures soared and strong winds stoked the flames.

By late Thursday, hundreds of rescue workers were still struggling to contain at least 20 fires, using planes, dozens of helicopters and drones.

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

A forest fire burns near the town of Manavgat, east of the resort city of Antalya, Turkey, on July 29.

Kaan Soyturk/Reuters

Kaan Soyturk/Reuters

People try to extinguish bushes on fire near the town of Manavgat, on July 29.

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

People take pictures of a massive forest fire near the town of Manavgat, on July 29.

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

Smoke rises from a forest fire threatening a residential area in the Aegean coastal town of Bodrum, on July 29.

AP

AP

The deadliest blaze occurred in Manavgat, about 40 miles east of the city of Antalya, where the dead included an 82-year old man and a married couple who perished in their home.

When their son arrived, “everywhere had become ashes,” he told a local newspaper. Further west, in the resort town of Bodrum, tourists had to be evacuated by boat as fire raced toward the Titanic Deluxe, a five-star hotel.

AP

Paramilitary police officers watch as a wildfire fanned by strong winds rages near Manavgat on July 28.

Arif Kaplan/IHA/AP

Arif Kaplan/IHA/AP

Smoke drifts over a hotel complex in Manavgat, on July 29.

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

A residential area on fire near Manavgat on July 29.

Kaan Soyturk/Reuters

Kaan Soyturk/Reuters

The fires are the latest environmental calamities to befall Turkey. For months this spring, marine mucilage — or “sea snot” — choked harbors and suffocated marine life along parts of the coast. In central Turkey, thousands of baby flamingoes were found dead earlier this month in a lake bed that had dried up because of drought and the diversion of water for agriculture.

Authorities said the cause of this week’s fires was under investigation.

Kaan Soyturk/Reuters

An aerial photo shows destroyed houses in a village near Manavgat, on July 29.

Suat Metin/IHA/AP

Suat Metin/IHA/AP

People stand next to a burned house near the town of Manavgat, on July 29.

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images

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