Wildfires have been raging on the island of Sardinia over the weekend. Around 1,500 are unable to access their homes. 20,000 hectares of vegetation destroyed.
Wildfires on Sardinia have burned for three days and continue to do so. They are believed to have started near the village of Bonarcado in the province of Oristano on Friday when a car caught fire in a traffic accident.
Around 1,500 were forced to flee and cannot access their homes. Winds and hot, dry conditions meant the fire rapidly spread inland before heading towards the coast destroying 20,000 hectares of land.
“It’s a disaster without precedent,” the island’s governor Christian Solinas said, as the region declared a state of emergency.
Canadair planes collected water off the coast of Porto Alabe, before emptying it over the blazing vegetation.
Help with wildfires on Sardinia from France and Germany
Firefighting aircraft from France and Greece arrived in Italy on Sunday following an appeal for help in taming the fires.
Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said that the civil protection agency had appealed for planes from other European countries. A vast area in Oristano province was “on its knees” due to the devastating fire, he said.
This morning (26th July) the fire danger level remained “high”, said the civil protection agency. The agency issued a warning for swathes of the central- and north-western coast.
About 7,500 emergency workers, including members of Italy’s forest police and the Red Cross, were helping evacuees and those at risk, the fire service said.
Solinas said it was too early to know the extent of the destruction but he would ask the government to allocate recovery fund money for reforestation.
“The damage is immeasurable,” said Solinas. “It has left whole communities on their knees, along with their economic and social fabric. It has inflicted a fatal wound on this precious environmental heritage. Whole forests completely destroyed. Firms and homes devastated. An enormous number of livestock animals killed in the fire”.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is following the situation and sent his “full solidarity to everyone affected and support for all those tirelessly doing their best in the rescue efforts”.
Farmers’ association Coldiretti said it would take at least 15 years to recreate the forests and the pastures that have gone up in smoke.
Sicily is also battling wildfires.