Wildfires reach Catania on Sicily. Image: Roberto Viglianisi/via REUTERS. No copyright infringement intended

Firefighters battle wildfires on Sicily for second day running

By Region News The Islands

Wildfires have reached the town of Catania with people evacuated from their homes and the local airport temporarily shut down.

Italian firefighters said today they were battling for a second straight day wildfires in Sicily. The fires are on the outskirts of Catania, forcing people to leave their homes and the local airport to temporarily shut down.

On Twitter, the fire brigade said they had been conducting 250 operations in Sicily in the past 24 hours. 50 of those were in Catania alone.

Catania beach resort La Capannina burns

The fires hit the area of Catania facing the sea, destroying the local beach resort La Capannina. Social media images show charred beach chairs and umbrellas.

Hot winds are stoking the fires across the island. Fires are also burning in the Palermo province as temperatures approached 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Ashes rained on the Sicilian capital, local media reported.

Europe has seen wildfires across the south

Earlier this week, fires swept through parts of southern Europe, including Spain and Turkey’s southern regions. Fires also ravaged Sardinia with Italy requesting help from the EU to fight them.

On Monday, the EU sent four forest firefighting planes, after more than 350 people were evacuated.

The Italian arm of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said on Saturday almost 20,000 hectares (49,420 acres) of land in Sardinia had suffered. The fires killed animals and destroyed century-old woods.

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