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MAP: Where are wildfires raging in Italy?

Hundreds of people have been evacuated as extreme temperatures fuel wildfires across Italy. Here’s where the blazes are currently causing the most damage.

MAP: Where are wildfires raging in Italy?
Firefighters are working to put out wildfires across southern Italy and in parts of the north on Monday. Photo by Federico SCOPPA / AFP

Wildfires have caused devastation in many parts of Europe this summer, and Italy is no exception.

READ ALSO: Italian wildfires ‘three times worse’ than average as heatwave continues

The Italian fire brigade was called out to almost 33,000 forest or brush fires between June 15th and July 21st, with blazes reported everywhere from Puglia to Trentino-Alto Adige and Abruzzo to Sicily.

As exceptionally hot and dry conditions persist into August, yet more fires broke out over the weekend causing devastation up and down the country.

Here’s a look at the areas worst affected at the moment.

All active fires in Italy on Monday, August 8th. Map: European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

Savona, Liguria (North-west)

Some 120 people were evacuated on Monday as a wildfire raged near Savona amid sweltering midsummer heat.

The fire burned through woodland in the area of Arnasco and Villanova d’Albenga over the weekend before intensifying.

The situation became critical overnight on Sunday, with several homes catching fire in Villanova d’Albenga, reported news agency Ansa.

More homes were at risk on Monday, firefighters said, particularly in the Borgo Verde and Coasco neighborhoods.

Helicopters and several Canadair planes were assisting fire crews on the ground on Monday.

Sicily (South-west)

“Half the island is burning,” read headlines in local Sicilian media on Monday, as firefighters were reportedly struggling to attend all the blazes reported across the island.

Sicily has been hit by the largest number of fires overall this summer, according to the national fire brigade.

In the provinces of Palermo, Ragusa, Messina, and beyond “a succession of fires are destroying hectares of woods and vegetation”, reports local newspaper La Sicilia, which added that many fires were believed to have been started deliberately.

READ ALSO: Italy is burning – but many wildfires could be prevented

A major fire on Monte Giancaldo, a mountain overlooking the city of Palermo, burned throughout Sunday night and into Monday, but fortunately didn’t reach residential areas.

No deaths or major incidents were reported, but the risk of fire damage to homes and land is ever-present on the island, where temperatures remain among the hottest in Italy.

Puglia (South-east)

Another part of Italy badly affected by wildfires this summer, like every year; in Puglia, firefighters were battling more than a dozen blazes on Monday.

These included two fires that burned 50 hectares of woodland in the Foggia area, and a blaze stretching for more than a kilometre in scrubland near the coast between Tricase Porto and Marina di Andrano, an area popular with holidaymakers.

Several houses in the area were evacuated on Sunday, while the Tricase-Andrano road was closed to traffic as fire crews battled the flames with assistance from Canadair planes.

As is the case in Italy every year, the most fires were reported in the hotter, drier southern regions.

READ ALSO: Will summer 2022 be Italy’s hottest ever?

Sicily has recorded the highest number of wildfires this summer, with firefighters called out 6,534 times so far according to fire brigade statistics.

Other regions worst affected were Puglia (5,134), Lazio (4,799), Calabria (3,195), Campania (2,730) and Tuscany (1,529

While prolonged hot and dry conditions make wildfires more likely – and more severe – the vast majority of such blazes in Italy are believed to be caused by human actions, and six in ten are started deliberately according to Coldiretti, Italy’s national farmers’ union.

Italy has registered at least three wildfires a day since the start of July, data from EFFIS shows.

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WEATHER

Northern Italy counts storm damage as bad weather moves south

Severe storms that left two dead and dozens injured in the north of Italy began to calm on Friday, leaving residents and emergency services to assess the damage.

Northern Italy counts storm damage as bad weather moves south

Tuscany was among the worst-hit areas, with two people reported dead and at least a hundred evacuated on Thursday.

Liguria’s coastline meanwhile was “heavily hit”, local mayors said, with homes, beach clubs and other businesses badly damaged and a major railway line temporarily closed.

READ ALSO: Two dead as northern Italy battered by severe storms

Residents of Venice were cleaning up on Friday after strong winds and heavy rain damaged homes and businesses, and even the iconic St Mark’s belltower.

Tourists were evacuated and parts of central Venice cordoned off late on Thursday as strong winds upended cafe tables and swept away umbrellas in St Mark’s Square, and the city’s famous newspaper kiosks were knocked over or damaged.

St. Mark’s Square in Venice. Photo by Andrea PATTARO / AFP

Two people were reported injured, one at St Mark’s and the other at the Lido, where beach clubs also suffered extensive damage.

Authorities in Rome were bracing to deal with further storm damage across the country on Friday, warning people to be cautious as the wave of bad weather spread across the country,

The extreme weather was caused by masses of low-pressure air moving south, Italy’s Department for Civil Protection said.

In an update published late on Thursday, the department said “the development of new intense thunderstorms” in the north and centre of the country “remained possible” throughout the day on Friday.

As a result, authorities issued an amber alert for the regions of Lombardy and Veneto for Friday, August 19th, whereas a lower-level yellow storm alert was in place for the rest of the north and centre of Italy.

“At the same time, the tail of the perturbation will lead to an unstable transit, with less widespread but intense phenomena,” the civil protection department said.

Storms may also affect parts of the centre and south, it said, particularly “Umbria, Marche, Lazio, Abruzzo and Sardinia, where scattered thunderstorms may develop, with showers of rain or hail, electrical activity and gusts of wind”.

Experts say climate change is boosting the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts and wildfires.

Italian environmental group Legambiente said on Friday the number of such extreme weather events has surged in Italy, with 132 in the last six months alone – the highest average figure in the last decade.

The group said “Italy is ever more subject to extreme climate events” because of global heating caused by human activity.

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