The death toll from wildfires in southern Turkey has risen to four

The death toll in wildfires raging in southern Turkey has risen to four as fire crews on Friday battled a blaze that burned homes and forced people to evacuate villages and beach resorts.

Firefighters are still battling wildfires in 14 locations in six provinces in Turkey’s Mediterranean and southern Aegean region, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters. Since Wednesday, he said, 57 more forest fires have been brought under control amid strong winds and scorching heat.

The worst fires were in the districts of Manavgat and Akseki in the province of Antalya, where strong winds pushed the fire toward populated areas on Wednesday. An 82-year-old man and a married couple were killed, more than 50 people were hospitalized, and dozens of homes burned. More than 25 neighborhoods or villages were evacuated.

Meanwhile, a 25-year-old volunteer died in another fire near the Turkish resort of Marmaris, 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of Antalya late Thursday, raising the death toll in the fires to four. The state-run Anadolu Agency reported that a man was delivering drinking water to firefighters but had a motorcycle accident and died in the blaze.

A fire on a mountainside in Marmaris on Thursday briefly threatened vacation homes and hotels, and guests at a luxury hotel in the Aegean beach resort of Gouvercinlik, near the town of Bodrum, were evacuated by boat.

Azerbaijan announced it would send 500 rescuers, helicopters and other equipment to help Turkey, a close ally, fight the fires. Erdogan said Azerbaijan would also provide an amphibious firefighting aircraft in addition to the firefighting aircraft sent from Russia and Ukraine. Neighboring Greece has also offered help.

In Greece, authorities on Friday ordered additional fire patrols and infrastructure checks as the country battles a wave of heat blowing hot air from Africa that is expected to last more than a week. Temperatures in Greece and nearby southeastern Europe are expected to rise to 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit) on Monday in many cities and towns and will not abate until late next week.

On Thursday, Turkish authorities began investigating the fires. The mayor of Marmaris said he did not rule out “sabotage” as the cause of the fires. Erdogan said on Friday that the Interior Ministry and security services were “making active efforts” to shed light on the real reasons behind the forest fires.

In other Turkish provinces, authorities have announced a ban on visiting forests to prevent more fires.

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