Friday, August 1, 2008


By the early hours of 31 July the fire was under control. The helicopters and planes started flying at 6.15 am, after sunrise, and just before the winds began to pick up again. They worked alternate hours through the day, three helicopters cooling the smouldering embers. A walk to Guzelyali brought us right alongside where they were refilling their buckets sequentially.

Bulldozers are used to clear the firebreaks and limit the fire's spread. Here's one being transported over the pass to Intepe.

We drove to Intepe along the main Izmir road shocked to find trees that appeared healthy through binoculars from home were thoroughly burnt at their bases, all undergrowth gone. The entire ridge and pass had burnt.

Deeper in the forest the devastation was complete, especially in the valleys.

Looking north from the pass at Intepe the whole area is burnt.

On the south of the pass the view was much the same. The fire swept down to the sea here. The valley below the road still smoking yesterday evening.

The village of Intepe had a lucky escape as the fire passed below it. Behind the village there were rumours of fields burning as far south as Dumrek.

All that remains of Bag Evi and the restaurant beside it are the frames. Bag Evi was a small wooden chalet that served great gozleme and traditional breakfasts. The restaurant closest to the pass was unharmed by the fire. Similarly a house nestled in the valley below the pass survived though the fire passed around it.

Looking east from Guzelyali the fire smokes. The lower ridge channeled the fire south, saving the centre and the complexes to the north of the village. The fire came within a few hundred yards of the wind turbines in the top left of the photo.

At the southern end of Guzelyali the fire passed very close to these houses before being limited by the coast at Karanlik Limani past the Youth Camp. The ridge is burnt and shows outcrops of rock that were hidden before.

At Karanlik Limani a pile of ashes smoulder. The fire moved along the coast here and yesterday evening a single helicopter was still working near some new houses being built near a tree plantation on the coast road to Kumkale.

Apparently started by farmers burning stubble the fire was called in quickly. It started within sight of the Fire Post in Dardanos. Still within a very short time it was out of control and required six helicopters, five planes, multiple fire brigades from as far away as Istanbul, Izmir, Mugla and Bursa, army backup for ground crews, bulldozers and road graders. In spite of all this effort 500 hectares burned.