Italy: Wildfires rage through Sardinia, forcing evacuations


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Around 10,000 acres around the island’s historic Montiferru area have already been destroyed in what officials called “an unprecedented disaster.”

Firefighters on Sardinia struggled throughout the night to put out the fire

Wildfires raged through the Italian island of Sardinia on Sunday, forcing emergency services to evacuate almost 400 people from their homes overnight.

Firefighters have fought to put out the blaze fanned by southwesterly winds and which authorities said has already ravaged 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) around the historic central-western area of Montiferru.

Civil protection authorities on Italyꞌs second biggest island said that several houses have been damaged so far.

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How serious is the fire?
Eleven aircraft have been deployed to put out what the Nuova Sardegna newspaper called an “enormous fire” that has been destroying fields in the island since Saturday.

On Saturday night, authorities evacuated 200 residents from the town of Cuglieri, 155 from Sennariolo and others from Tresnuraghes and Flussio.

There were no reports of anyone being killed or injured by the fire.

Fires have destroyed around 10,000 acres so far in the Italian island of Sardinia

Emergency services managed to stave off enough of the threat on Sunday, allowing the evacuees from Cuglieri to return home but still classified the threat as “extreme.”

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The Coldiretti agricultural association called the fire a “catastrophe” with meadows, forests and some animals destroyed by the flames.

With temperatures expected to remain high on Monday, authorities are warning residents to remain on alert until the fire is fully under control.

What have officials said?
“The most important front is the one between Cuglieri and Santu Lussurgiu and the weather conditions do not help,” Antonio Belloi, Director General of the Civil Protection of Sardinia, told Italy’s ANSA news agency.

Villaurbana’s mayor, Paolo Pireddu, who is coordinating the response in his area, told ANSA his town had been “touched by the flames, which are now heading towards Mount Grighine.”

“We have put the population on alert with the possibility of evacuating, should there be a need.”

“It is not yet possible to estimate the damage caused by the fires still raging in the Oristanese area, but it is an unprecedented disaster,” Sardinian governor Christian Solinas told the Nuova Sardegna newspaper.

“We are asking the government for immediate economic support to restore the damage and help affected communities get back on their feet.”

jc/mm (AP, AFP)


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