Panicked tourists in the Aegean resort of Bodrum in Turkey rushed to the seashore to wait for rescue boats Saturday after being told to evacuate some hotels as wildfires raged nearby.
Videos posted online by local media showed towering flames in the hills above the town’s hotels and huge waves of smoke billowing out to the sea as vacationers fled with their suitcases in tow.
The blaze was one of at least 10 wildfires raging out of control across Turkey.
The death toll from the blazes rose to six Saturday. Two firefighting personnel died while trying to control the inferno near the coastal Mediterranean town of Manavgat, about 50 miles southeast from the popular tourist city of Antalya, Reuters reported.
Turks were also mourning Sahin Akdemir, a 25-year-old volunteer who died bringing water to firefighters.
Wildfires are common in southern Turkey during the heat of the summer, but local officials say this year’s blazes are bigger and hotter. The heat intensity was four times higher than anything on record for the nation, according to satellite data passed on to the Guardian.
Turkey’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli told Reuters a total of 98 fires had broken out in the past four days, 10 of which remained out of control.
Wildfires are also threatening the Sicilian town of Catania, forcing evacuations and a shutdown of the local airport, Reuters reported. Temperatures there and in other spots along the Mediterranean were upward of 100 degrees.
The fires hit the area of Catania facing the sea, destroying the local beach resort La Capannina where social media images showed charred beach chairs and umbrellas.
Another blaze on the western side of Sicily rained ash on the capital, Palermo.
In the past week, fires also scorched the Italian island of Sardinia and parts of Spain.