Thousands of acres of forest on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have been lost to fire, according to a report by MSNBC.com Saturday.
It said that while most fires were ignited through negligence, the second most cited cause was arson. The cause of some fires remains unknown.
Forestry Ministry officials say that Turkey is in a region that is prone to forest fires and it would be impossible to completely eradicate the threat of forest fires, according to the report.
Data gathered by the ministry indicate that the period going back to January 1998 shows a sharp rise in the number of forest fires recorded. For example, there was a total of 5,522 hectares burned in 1,079 forest fires in 1997. This figure jumped to 1,387 forest fires in 1998, destroying 10,000 hectares.
Negligence resulted in 734 forest fires, destroying a total of 2,224 hectares of forest, according to the ministry.
A high proportion of these fires, however, were instances of arson, the ministry says, adding that around 500 hectares of forest were destroyed by arson in 206 forest fires started by farmers, squatters and terrorists – Albawaba.com
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