An area of 2,330 hectares was destroyed as a result of 1,660 forest fires that occurred throughout Turkey in the last 8 months. Speaking to an Anadolu Agency (AA) reporter, İsmail Üzmez, the Manager of General Forestry Directorate, said that 60 percent of Turkey's forestry areas are prone to fire. Üzmez said that 19,000 staff fought fires this year using 34 aircraft, including six helicopters, four amphibious aircraft and 24 helicopters, specially equipped to extinguish fires. Around 3,000 heavy vehicles took part in extinguishing forest fires, as well. Pointing out that Turkey is the most successful country in Europe in terms of its ability to extinguish forest fires, Üzmez said that they do not only put out fires in Turkey, but also neighboring countries. He said that fire brigade teams extinguished fires in North Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Russia, Greece, Georgia, Macedonia, Israel and Albania. About 87 percent of fires that occurred over the past ten years in Turkey were man-made. Üzmez said that cigarettes, picnic and garbage incineration start most forest fires. He said that to avoid starting fires, people should be more careful and immediately call "Alo 177" fire report line. Last year, 3,000 hectares of land was destroyed due to forest fires in Turkey, Üzmez continued. "Last year, the biggest fire happened in Muğla's Milas district and destroyed an area of 543 hectares. In the last eight months, 1,660 forest fires have broken out in Turkey," he concluded.
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