Forest fires in Italy: hundreds of people driven from their homes in the “unprecedented disaster” in Sardinia

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Forest fires in Italy: hundreds of people driven from their homes in the “unprecedented disaster” in Sardinia


Forest fires raging in central Sardinia have forced at least 900 people to leave their homes.

Four planes from France and Greece were dispatched to help put out the forest fires, which destroyed around 20,000 hectares in the Italian province of Oristano – the size of around 20,000 rugby pitches.

The plane joined 10 Italian fire teams and five other planes deployed to tackle the fires that erupted over the weekend and spread by dry southerly winds.

Firefighters spent the night fighting the blaze near the town of Montiferro, which destroyed farms and engulfed some residential areas in smoke.

“Currently, the situation of the population seems to be under control,” said Alessandro Paola, deputy head of the emergency service of the Italian fire brigade.

He said it depends on the weather forecast.

Forest fires hit the Montiferru region in the center-west of the island due to a heat wave, according to the European Commission.

No fatalities or injuries were reported.

Christian Salinas, president of the Sardinia region, called it “one of the most serious natural disasters ever to have occurred in Sardinia”, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

He said that “the enormous firestorms favored by absolutely borderline weather and climate conditions” were an “unprecedented disaster” in the history of Sardinia.

“So far, 20,000 hectares of forest that represent centuries of our island’s environmental history have fallen to ashes,” he added.

According to the Italian media La Stampa, it could take at least 15 years to rebuild the woods and Mediterranean scrub destroyed by the flames that reached pastures, olive trees, sheds, barns with stocks of fodder and agricultural vehicles but also killed animals.

Planes sent by France and Greece were used to collect water to drop on the fires.

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France and Greece sent planes to help fight the flames

Claudio Atzori, president of Legacoop Sardegna, told La Stampa: “We demand an immediate investigation to verify the reason for the damage to houses and businesses, in or near the villages, which should have been protected, thanks to a more great attention to the maintenance phase of the territory and prevention.

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