Wildfires ravage the Italian island of Sardinia in ‘a disaster without precedent.’
Around 1,000 residents and tourists were evacuated from areas in western Sardinia that were ravaged by forest fires over the weekend, with forests, pastures and villages on the Italian island engulfed by flames.
“It is an unprecedented disaster,” the region’s governor Christian Solinas said on Sunday, invoking a state of emergency.
No deaths or injuries were reported, Italian authorities said. But the fires were still raging on Monday, when four firefighting planes from France and Greece joined the Italian firefighter’s air fleet to help control the blazes.
Since Saturday morning, when wildfires broke out near a forest near the village of Bonacardo, at least 50,000 acres of land have caught fire. Hundreds of sheep, goats, cows and pigs have died after being trapped in farm barns on the way to the fires, despite efforts by rescuers to save them.
The cause of the fires is not yet clear.
Forest fires are common in Sardinia’s dry Mediterranean environment in summer, especially as warm southwest winds blow on days when temperatures reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit, as has been the case in recent days. .
“These are extraordinary fires for the scale, but also ordinary for the season and the speed, unfortunately,” said Gianfilippo Micillo, head of the forest fire coordination service of the Italian fire brigade. “These fires create their own microclimate and spread very quickly. “
Mr Micillo said Italy is experiencing an increase in forest fires this year, as happens every four or five years, when low bushes and brush grows enough in deserted areas to fuel an accidentally ignited spark or intentionally by human activity.
Italy recorded nearly 13,000 more fires than last year, mostly in the southern regions of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily, firefighters said.
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