Sicily is on fire, the fire brigade is in constant use! On Friday the forest fires advanced to the city of Catania. Houses were evacuated, a section of the beach burned down completely.
Thick billows of smoke drifted over the houses of the city at the foot of the Etna volcano. Catania Airport had to temporarily suspend flight operations on Friday evening. In Sicily, the fire brigade deployed 250 times within 24 hours.
According to the Ansa news agency, the authorities rescued around 150 people from the Catania area who had been trapped in the flames and fled to the sea. The police took them to their boats there.
At the beach club Le Capannine on the beach in Catania, palm trees and umbrellas made of straw and wood created a relaxed atmosphere for years. The area fell victim to the fire on Friday. Bars, restaurants, umbrellas, loungers and warehouses were destroyed by the flames.
Sicily’s regional president Nello Musumeci wrote in a post on Facebook of “devastation” as a result of high temperatures. According to him, investigators have found that arsonists were behind some of the fires. They would have caused irreversible damage to the heritage of the forest and put people at risk, Musumeci said. He thinks that the heat wave in Sicily should last until August 6th.
For Saturday, the civil protection authority predicted the highest fire risk level for eastern and northern Sicily. The temperatures should be a little below 40 degrees Celsius again.
Nationwide, the fire brigade had 800 missions within 24 hours by Saturday morning. For days, especially southern Italy and the large islands have been affected by fires. Forests and houses burned down in western Sardinia. Rescue workers also had to bring people to safety here.
The situation is also critical in Lazio, where the capital Rome is located, as well as in the regions of Apulia and Campania. The fires continue to spread due to drought, heat and strong winds.