Homes and schools evacuated as wildfires rage in Sicily

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The wildfires raged across parts of Sicily on Thursday. Photo: Webcris77/
13:56 CEST+02:00
A girl was rescued from a burning house while 50 nursery school children were hospitalized due to smoke inhalation as wildfires raged across parts of Sicily on Thursday.

The girl was rescued from the home in Poggio Maria, near the coastal town of Cefalù, a popular tourist area where other homes and hotels are reported to have been damaged by the wildfires, fanned by a sirocco, a hot Mediterranean wind that originates from the Sahara and can reach hurricane speeds.

Fifty nursery school children were also hospitalized on Thursday morning, suffering from smoke inhalation, as the fires spread across the Palermo area. Their condition was not serious and they were later discharged.

The nursery, in Monreale, was evacuated, as were other buildings and hotels in the affected areas.

The town's mayor, Piero Capizzi, said the situation is now under control.

"But this morning there were moments of fear," he added.

Dozens of fires have spread across the island, affecting the provinces of Palermo, Agrigento, Trapani and Messina, according to the latest reports.

The A20 motorway between Palermo and Messina and a highway that runs from Lascari to Cefalù were also closed as the fires spread.

"We’re facing a dramatic situation," said Lapunzina Rosario, mayor of the coastal town of Cefalù, adding that the flames developed in the Lascari area.

The lower areas of the Madonie mountain range were among the worst affected, with homes and schools being evacuated.

“We are overwhelmed with calls,” a firefighter told La Repubblica.

The roof of a home in Cefalù can be seen on fire in the Tweet below.

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Some Canadair water planes were launched but the operation had to be stopped because the winds, bringing temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius, were too strong, Giampiero Boscaino said. 

The video below, of fires in Lascari, was posted on

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