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Schools closed after high temperatures fuel wildfires in Sicily

The Local Italy
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Schools closed after high temperatures fuel wildfires 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)

Schools were closed near Palermo and most of Sicily remained on red alert on Friday for wildfires fuelled by strong winds and unusually high temperatures.

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Schools were closed on Friday near Palermo as wildfires swept the area and encroached into the capital itself, forcing residents in the Brancaccio neighborhood to leave their homes - not for the first time this year, after a blaze threatened the same area in July.

Schools in Gratteri, in the Madonie mountains, were closed due to nearby wildfires on the orders of local mayor Giuseppe Muffoletto, who urged local residents to take precautionary measures to prevent the flames from spreading through the town.

Canadair planed intervened to stop fires reaching homes in the Palermo area, while another blaze stretched from Gratteri to Cefalù, reported news agency Ansa.

Sicilian authorities had issued red alerts for wildfires on Thursday and Friday in the provinces of Palermo, Trapani and Messina.

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The head of the regional civil protection agency, Salvatore Cocina, said the areas were on alert due to high temperatures and strong sirocco winds.

Temperatures in many parts of Sicily were around 34 degrees on Friday, well above the seasonal average.

Temperatures exceeded 32 degrees in other parts of southern Italy on Friday, while the north saw rain and temperatures in the low 20s.

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Jan 2023/10/09 12:04
High temperatures don't cause fires. A sauna does not catch fire at 80 or even 90 degrees C. Fires start easily after droughts and are caused by intentional (arson) or unintentional (cigarette buds) human actions or natural causes like lightning.

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