Firefighters and workers from the Civil Protection Agency were on the scene tackling the flames in the national park, as forest fires burned across large parts of Italy.
Smoke from the fire rose more than two kilometres into the air and was visible from Naples. In the below tweet, weather channel 3B Meteo compared images of the fires with pictures of the volcano's most recent eruption in 1944, which destroyed three villages.
— 3B Meteo (@3BMeteo) July 11, 2017
A total of more than 600 firefighters and Civil Protection workers were on Tuesday tackling at least 100 active fires throughout Campania, including the outbreaks in the Vesuvius National Park which the Civil Protection Agency said were “among the most critical situation[s]”.
Across the entire country, firefighters were carrying out 541 operations on Tuesday evening, including 335 forest and farm fires.
The above image, shared by Pompeii's Director General, Massimo Osanna, shows the smoke visible from the archaeological site. “Like an eruption,” he wrote.
Fires had broken out at Via Valle delle Delizie on the volcano' north-eastern side, news agency Ansa reported, as well as in two locations on the south-west, including Via Vesuvio in Herculaneum which was the scene of another blaze the previous week. The latter two fires joined together later on Tuesday, due to dry soil and winds, complicating the firefighters' work.
Another view of the flames from Vesuvius. Photo: Gianpiero Longobardi/The Local
Residents in that area were evacuated from their homes on Monday, before being allowed to return on Tuesday morning following overnight efforts from the fire service.
On Tuesday, more restaurants, businesses, and several homes were evacuated as a precaution, La Repubblica di Napoli reported. Local authorities have appealed to residents for help both in tackling the fire and assisting the displaced people.
Map showing the locations of the fires as reported by Ansa.
Campanian Five Star Movement councillor Valeria Ciarambino said on Tuesday afternoon that she had asked for the scheduled discussion in a regional council meeting to be interrupted “so that the environmental councillor could inform us about the inferno taking place”, but that the request had been rejected.
Forest fires across Italy
Sicily has been particularly severely hit by fires in recent days, with two large serious blazes at Enna near the centre of the island and Messina at its most north-easterly point.
On Monday, houses were evacuated in both areas as fires devastated pine forests and hectares of woodland, though on Tuesday the fire service said both incidents were under control.
— Giulia Bitto (@FertAetas) July 10, 2017
A total of 70 firefighters were deployed to tackle the Messina blaze, while across the country as a whole, 18 requests had been made for helicopter assistance. In a broadcast to his Facebook page, comedian and TV presenter Rosario Fiorello had compared the scene to the Fire of Rome in 64 AD in which the whole city burned.
The fire in Messina. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco
Italy has seen a huge number of fires, particularly wildfires, following months of lower than average rainfall and high temperatures, and the situation is most serious in the south. Dozens of animals were killed in one fire in Sicily which destroyed hundreds of hectares of farmland over the first weekend of July.
But fires were also ravaging farmland in other parts of the country, with two serious incidents in Emilia Romagna on Monday.
Rome's mayor, Virginia Raggi, said the number of forest fires in the municipality had almost quadrupled in the period since June 1st, compared to the same time last year. She said she had attended a meeting at Rome's prefecture on Monday “to discuss the measures to be taken to tackle this emergency”.