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Lazio region calls for state of emergency over wildfires

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Lazio region calls for state of emergency over wildfires
One of the firefighting aircraft. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco
09:20 CEST+02:00
The president of the central Italian region of Lazio said on Sunday he would ask the government to call a state of emergency over a spate of fires which have devastated hundreds of hectares of land.

"In this moment alone, there are 18 fires in Rome province; dozens over the course of the day," said regional president Nicola Zingaretti in a statement on Sunday evening. "We will ask the government to call a state of emergency."

Hundreds of firefighters and Civil Protection volunteers worked to tackle the blazes, with ten helicopters also used. Sunday's major fires were located in Civitavecchia and Ladispoli to the north-west of Rome, and Sant'Angelo Romano and Lake Martignano further east. 

Another bush fire broke out slightly to the south of Lake Martignano in Anguillara, where a community for people with disabilities was evacuated. Two residents were taken to hospital for shock and smoke inhalation.

And in the city of Rome, a large fire broke out at a scrapyard in the Centocelle area, the fifth such blaze in around six weeks.

The Italian fire service said on Monday morning that it was involved in 246 operations, including 155 wildfires.

Wildfires have swept across the entire country over the past week, many believed to have been caused by arsonists. The high July temperatures after months of below average rainfall have allowed the fires to spread significantly.

Hundreds of tourists and locals have been evacuated in Tuscany, Campania, Calabria and Sicily, and at least two people have been reported dead as a result of the fires.

IN PICTURES: Fire rages at Italy's Mount Vesuvius

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