Türkiye prepared to combat wildfires ahead of summer

Turkish authorities have concluded the last preparations against possible forest fires in the light of the onset of summer temperatures in several parts of the country, Agriculture and Forestry Minister İbrahim Yumaklı has said.

Participating in both drills and several meetings in the Mediterranean province of Antalya over the weekend, Yumaklı emphasized Türkiye has reached the highest level of readiness in terms of personnel, machinery, equipment and intervention capabilities to combat forest fires.

The minister highlighted that for firefighting efforts, the country has at its disposal 105 helicopters, 26 aircraft, 5,000 land vehicles and 14 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), making it one of the only two countries in the world to utilize UAVs in forest fire management.

The response teams also leverage AI-supported programs against forest fires, he said.

"With our UAVs and smart fire observation towers using artificial intelligence, we monitor millions of hectares of forest around the clock in real-time," he said.

"We are currently serving with 184 smart towers. We conduct firefighting with an AI-based system called the 'Fire Decision Support System,'" he added.

Over 120,000 volunteers are ready to respond to any potential forest fires, he stated, adding that training, awareness and education regarding fire management are spread throughout the year.

Through simulation software, the reactions and decision-making abilities of participants are assessed by managing variables such as wind, humidity and the course of the fire.

Yumaklı stated that they have reduced the initial response time from up to 40 minutes in the past to 11 minutes today. However, teams were unable to achieve last year's target of 10 minutes,...

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