EU sends help as wildfires cause “unprecedented disaster” on Italian island.
Wildfires in Sardinia have prompted the evacuation of around 1,500 people and destroyed more than 20,000 hectares of land in the centre-west of the Italian island, reports news agency ANSA.
The battle to quell the vast blaze involves about 7,500 emergency workers including fire-fighters, soldiers, police and civil protection volunteers, with additional help arriving from the EU following a request from Italy’s foreign minister Luigi Di Maio.
The EU help comes in the form of four Canadair planes, two each from France and Greece, to join the ‘water bombing’ aircraft already at work in the Montiferru area of Oristano.
Senza sosta il lavoro dei #vigilidelfuoco a #Oristano per gli incendi boschivi: a Cuglieri e Santa Caterina operano 10 squadre a terra e 8 #canadair. A Scano di Montiferro squadre schierate a protezione del centro abitato [#25luglio 16:30] pic.twitter.com/738dBzRAPQ
— Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) July 25, 2021
A heatwave and south-westerly winds have seen the blaze spread rapidly, devastating properties and reducing woods, olive groves and farmland to ashes.
The island’s regional council is ready to ask for a state of disaster to be declared, ANSA reports, with the governor Christian Solinas saying he will write to Italian premier Mario Draghi to seek “immediate economic assistance.”
“It is not yet possible to estimate the damage caused by the fires” – Solinas said – “but it is an unprecedented disaster.”