Italy records 30,000 forest fires in a month of drought and high temperatures

Italy wildfires - Serpeblu / Shutterstock.com

More than 30,000 forest fires have been recorded in Italy over the last month, with the prolonged drought and the high temperatures affecting Europe all playing their part.

On Friday, July 22, the Italian fire service said that between June 15 and July 21 they dealt with 32,921 fires easily surpassing last year’s number.

Experiencing the worst drought in 70 years, Italy has lost some 160,000 hectares to wildfires according to the Italian Institute for the health of the planet. (IIIPH).

Firefighters in the country have been pushed to the limit with the weather conditions making containment challenging. Strong winds are said to be driving the fires in some areas, whilst the dry countryside is allowing fires to spread quickly and easily.

The worst hit is Sicily (south) where 6,534 fires have been dealt with, followed by Apulia (south) with 5,134 fires, Lazio (centre near Rome), with 4,799, and Calabria (south) with 3,195 fires.

According to Eugenio Giani, The President of Tuscany, the weather conditions and dry land are causing fires to disperse making it extremely difficult to control and manage.

Trains and public transport have been affected in areas and at least one Civil Protection Officer has died in trying to deal with the outbreaks.

As many as 16 cities across Italy still remain on alert for high temperatures and wildfires, including Rome, Bologna, Florence (centre), Genoa, Milan and Turin (north).

The drought conditions have seen many dams and lakes dry up whilst the country’s largest river the Po, is running at a tickle.

Authorities have said that: “Most forest fires are caused by superficial and often malicious behaviour” again appealing to Italians to take more care in preventing unnecessary fires.

The more than 30,000 forest fires recorded in Italy have not only affected the countryside but have also destroyed valuable crops, as it has in Spain.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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