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YUMAKLI: WE SET A 10-MINUTE TARGET FOR FIRE RESPONSE

Agriculture and Forestry Minister İbrahim Yumaklı has announced an ambitious target of 10 minutes for this year’s fire response time.

“Next year, we will surpass our achievements from the previous year in terms of equipment, materials, and personnel. We are committed to preserving this ecosystem, which faces various threats and natural events,” Yumaklı stressed during an exercise held in İzmir province’s Kemalpaşa district aimed at combating forest fires.

İbrahim Yumaklı

The exercise witnessed the participation of ground crews and aircraft who swiftly intervened in a controlled fire as part of the drill. Following the exercise, Yumaklı introduced the T70 Sikorsky helicopter and addressed a gathering of 300 citizens and fire volunteers. He highlighted the progress made, stating that the fire response time, which stood at 40 minutes in the past, had been reduced to 11 minutes last year. Yumaklı expressed optimism in achieving the new target of 10 minutes.

“According to the United Nations Environment Program, the world’s average temperature is predicted to rise by 6 degrees by 2100, with a 30 percent decrease in summer precipitation. The key to preventing this lies in protecting and expanding our forest resources,” the minister further stated.

Highlighting the vulnerability of the country’s forests, Yumaklı reminded the audience that 60 percent of the country’s forests face first and second-degree endangerment.

Bekir Karacabey, the head of the General Directorate of Forestry, echoed Yumaklı’s sentiments, underscoring their commitment to not only expanding forest areas but also protecting them against all potential threats. Karacabey emphasized the crucial role of early intervention and swift reporting in fire prevention.

Bekir Karacabey

He revealed that the current notification time stands at an impressive two minutes, with a response time of 11 minutes. Furthermore, he expressed intentions to include a humanitarian reconnaissance aircraft in their fleet.

Meanwhile, in a bid to prevent forest fires, authorities have issued a prohibition on entering and exiting forests in several regions. The decision announced ahead of the nine-day Eid al-Adha holiday states that access to forests will be restricted until Oct. 15 in Istanbul, until Sept. 15 in Çanakkale, until Oct. 31 in Muğla and Manisa and until further notice in Osmaniye.

Istanbul’s governor’s office issued a written statement explaining the rationale behind the decision, highlighting concerns over rising temperatures, increased human and vehicle activity concentrated in forest areas, as well as intentional or negligent behaviors.

The statement clarified that citizens wishing to enter prohibited areas for feeding stray animals may do so after informing the relevant district security units and Forestry Operations Directorates about their identity, location and schedule.

About İsmail Uğural

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