Italy's Palermo airport closed as wildfires rage in Sicily

The Local/AFP (
The Local/AFP ([email protected])
Italy's Palermo airport closed as wildfires rage in Sicily
Wildfires were spreading in parts of Sicily on Thursday and into Friday, with one reaching the perimeter of Palermo's city centre. (Photo by Federico SCOPPA / AFP)

Palermo airport was closed on Tuesday morning after wildfires in the hills around the Sicilian city reached the airport perimeter and road closures made it unreachable.


Inbound flights to Palermo's Falcone Borsellino airport remained suspended on Tuesday while some departures were allowed to resume from 11am, after the airport was closed completely for several hours.

Firefighters continued to wildfires in the surrounding area, including on the Capo Gallo mountain above the seaside resort of Mondello, and the Bellolampo hill, where on Monday night part of the local landfill was reported to be on fire and emitting poisonous fumes.

Some 120 families were evacuated from their homes nearby and power cuts were reported in many parts of Palermo, according to news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Blackouts, water shortages, wildfires: How extreme heat is hitting Sicily

An 88-year-old woman was reported to have died in the San Martino delle Scale area on Tuesday after wildfires meant emergency services were unable to reach her in time.

A prolonged heatwave continues to hang over the south of Italy, with Sicily's civil protection agency reporting a temperature of 47.6 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Celsius) in Catania on Monday.


In the north, two people were killed as violent storms hit the Lombardy region again in the early hours of Tuesday morning

High winds, torrential rain and hail swept through Milan, flooding streets and uprooting trees, many of which fell onto parked cars.

Transport authorities reported serious damage to the city's electricity network, while an AFP journalist reported that water in the historic centre was temporarily shut off. 


Many parts of Italy have suffered blackouts amid the heatwave in recent days, including Rome, with the power grid struggling to cope as Italy saw a new energy use record amid the heatwave.

Sicily has been particularly hard hit by rolling blackouts in recent days cutting off electricity and water supplies to hundreds of thousands of people on the island.

Local authorities on Monday urged people to moderate their use of air conditioners at home to avoid exacerbating the issue.

"We are paying on the one hand for climate change, to which we should have been paying more attention for several years, and on the other for infrastructure that does not appear entirely adequate to the new context,"  Italy's civil protection minister said on Monday.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also