500 evacuated as forest fire strikes near Pisa

500 evacuated as forest fire strikes near Pisa
Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

500 people were evacuated from their homes Monday night as a powerful forest fire struck the commune of Calci near Pisa.


Video footage obtained by Ansa shows an orange blaze raging directly behind a street with houses and cars.

Screenshot of footage obtained by Ansa

As of Tuesday morning the fire was still raging over the Monte Serra hills, which separate Pisa from the neighbouring province of Lucca. No injuries have been reported so far.

Approximately 80 firefighters at the scene are contending with strong winds of up to 80 km/h which are spreading the flames faster than they can be extinguished, the Italian fire service reported on Twitter.

Low-flying twin-engine Canadair aircraft have been deployed to assist with the efforts by spraying water over the affected area.

The fire was first reported around 10pm Monday evening, according to Meteoweb, and the order to evacuate the homes was made by Calci mayor Massimiliano Ghimenti the same evening.

Residents were given temporary emergency accommodation in the local gym and the town hall, according to La Repubblica.

Ghimenti, who is updating residents on developments via his Facebook profile, announced Tuesday morning that schools in the villages of  Montemagno and Vicopisano would be closed as a preventative safety measure and to allow firefighters unrestricted access to the area.

A video filmed by the local daily Il Tirreno this morning shows an elderly man crying out in the street as smoke billows from his roof.

According to Corriere della Sera, another fire was started in the same area a week ago, but was extinguished before it spread out of control.

Speaking to the TV channel Canale 50, Pisa fire service captain Ugo D'Anna said that the fire was "almost certainly" started by a deliberate act.





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