The inferno started on Sunday evening on the border of the Sahintepe and Mevkiinde districts. The fire engulfed the grassy wooded area and is spreading closer to NATO’s military base because of strong winds.
According to CNN Turk, the fire is threatening a number of populated areas, and has already impacted a home for the elderly and its adjacent garden.
Despite intense efforts by NATO-stationed troops to stop the fire, the rapidly-spreading flames are moving closer to the arsenal, T24 News reports. The channel also reports that possible “sabotage” is suspected.
The fire is threatening the Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) base at Şirinyer (Buca) in İzmir, Turkey. LANDCOM is charged with improving the effectiveness and reaction time of the alliance’s land forces that when needed could respond to an international crisis.
Under the NATO nuclear weapons sharing program, Washington maintains its largest overseas nuclear arsenal in Turkey, consisting of up to 50 nuclear weapons, according to some estimates. The nukes however are stored at the base at Incirlik, and none are reportedly stored in Izmir.