Turkey Bans Entry to Forests in Istanbul over Fire Concerns
Ankara- Turkey banned entry to all the forests of its largest city Istanbul on Tuesday until the end of July over fire concerns, according to local officials.
Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya announced on Twitter that all kinds of activities involving fire and fuel, such as barbecuing and smoking hookahs, are also strictly prohibited in national parks, local parks, and picnic and ecotourism areas.
In addition, he noted that in a city with a population of more than 16 million, human activities in such areas, which are usually crowded with Istanbulites during the summer months, can ignite fires easily.
Concerns of forest fires have been rising in the country as a massive wildfire caused devastation in southwestern Turkey by burning down nearly 4,000 hectares of forest last month.
The country’s western provinces of İzmir and Çanakkale also saw some wildfires over the past week, according to press reports.
Last summer, Turkey was hit by one of the worst forest fires in its history fueled by strong winds, high temperatures, and low humidity, which swept 53 provinces, killed at least eight people and numerous animals.