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1,000 tourists evacuated from Sicily village due to wildfire

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1,000 tourists evacuated from Sicily village due to wildfire
An image of the fire in San Vito Lo Capo. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco
09:46 CEST+02:00
Around 1,000 tourists were evacuated from a village in Sicily as a fire raged on Wednesday evening, firefighters said.

Many of the guests were forced to leave San Vito Lo Capo by water, thanks to boats from the Italian Coast Guard and emergency services.

Several owners of private boats also volunteered their own vessels for the evacuation effort, following an urgent appeal from the local mayor.

Around ten people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, but were not in serious condition, according to local media. Firefighters were able to tame the blaze by 6pm on Wednesday, however the resort will remain off limits until at least Saturday.

With temperatures expected to reach the high-30's on Thursday, the risk of fire across the island and much of the rest of Italy remained high. In the morning, the fire service said it was involved in 698 operations across the country, of which 476 were wildfires.

This came after firefighters battled a total of 500 fires in Sicily on Wednesday.

That was in addition to a further 260 in Puglia, 250 across Calabria and Campania, and 190 in Lazio, the central-southern region which is home to capital city Rome.


A wildfire pictured in Messina on Monday. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

The high July temperatures coupled with strong winds after months of below average rainfall have provided conditions which allow fires to spread very rapidly. The south of the country has been particularly badly affected, with dozens of serious fires each day of the month so far.

Dozens of farm animals were killed and farms destroyed in a ferocious blaze that swept across Sicily in the first weekend of July, while hundreds of hectares of forest and vegetation have been wiped out throughout Italy by fires.

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