Forest fire burns 5 hectares of land on Heybeliada island

forest fire broke out on Heybeliada, one of the Princes’ Islands off the coast of Istanbul in the Marmara Sea, on June 12, burning five hectares of land.

Three suspects have been detained and are being interrogated to determine any links to a terrorist organization, authorities said. While two of the detained were released later on July 13, the remaining suspect, identified only as Sedat D., has been arrested.

Following inspections at the site of the fire, Turkey’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said an investigation into the incident was ongoing.

“We have overcome this fire with minimum damage of around five hectares [12.3 acres]. Ninty percent of fires are due to human errors. We must prevent this,” he said.

“The fire was brought under control at 19.45 [1745GMT]. Cooling efforts are continuing,” said Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya.

Forest teams first responded at 17.36 (1536GMT) to the fire, which broke out at 17.33 (1533GMT), noted Yerlikaya, adding he would be heading to the island.

At least six helicopters, two planes and 21 water trucks were deployed to battle the fire, including 17 from neighboring provinces.

Residents with training in firefighting were also called to aid extinguishing efforts by the Adalar (Islands) Municipality.

Flames erupted at two different points in forested areas on Heybeliada, according to the provincial governor’s office.

“To extinguish the fire, three helicopters and two fire extinguishers were sent from adjacent provinces by the agriculture and forestry minister,” it said, adding that a “wide-scale investigation” had been launched into the incident.

Heybeliada is one of the four Princes’ Islands in the Marmara Sea and the second largest among Büyükada, Burgazada and Kınalıada, famed for their natural forests.

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