Wind and high temperatures started a wildfire in southwest Turkey on Wednesday, forestry minister Vahit Kirisci said, after scenes of burning forests reminded Turks of last year’s fires, which laid waste to tens of thousands of meters of hectares (5.012 acres) in the region.

Reuters footage showed smoke rising from hills and police boats using water cannons to aid firefighters as flames spread through forest in the sparsely populated area.

The cause of the fire which broke out at about 8pm Tuesday is still unclear.

Forestry Minister Vahit Kirisci said Wednesday the fire was under control but it had spread later, fueled by wind and hot conditions.

About 150 people from 51 homes had been evacuated as a precaution, said Forestry Minister Vahit Kirisci, adding that around 2.600 people were working to contain the fire.

Kirisci said 3.000 hectares (4.000 acres) were affected by the blaze and 12 aircraft, 45 helicopters and 2.600 firefighters were involved in the campaign.

Last summer’s forest fires, most of them near Marmaris, were the biggest in Turkey on record, according to an atmospheric monitor of the European Union last year, which added that the Mediterranean has become a flash point for conflagration.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been criticized for not being prepared to tackle the fires over the past year.

European Union

The European Union is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The union has a total area of 4,233,255. (wikipedia)