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MAP: Where are wildfires raging in Italy?

Hundreds of people have been evacuated as extreme temperatures fuel wildfires across Italy. Here’s where the blazes are currently causing the most damage.

MAP: Where are wildfires raging in Italy?
Firefighters are working to put out wildfires across southern Italy and in parts of the north on Monday. Photo by Federico SCOPPA / AFP

Wildfires have caused devastation in many parts of Europe this summer, and Italy is no exception.

READ ALSO: Italian wildfires ‘three times worse’ than average as heatwave continues

The Italian fire brigade was called out to almost 33,000 forest or brush fires between June 15th and July 21st, with blazes reported everywhere from Puglia to Trentino-Alto Adige and Abruzzo to Sicily.

As exceptionally hot and dry conditions persist into August, yet more fires broke out over the weekend causing devastation up and down the country.

Here’s a look at the areas worst affected at the moment.

All active fires in Italy on Monday, August 8th. Map: European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

Savona, Liguria (North-west)

Some 120 people were evacuated on Monday as a wildfire raged near Savona amid sweltering midsummer heat.

The fire burned through woodland in the area of Arnasco and Villanova d’Albenga over the weekend before intensifying.

The situation became critical overnight on Sunday, with several homes catching fire in Villanova d’Albenga, reported news agency Ansa.

More homes were at risk on Monday, firefighters said, particularly in the Borgo Verde and Coasco neighborhoods.

Helicopters and several Canadair planes were assisting fire crews on the ground on Monday.

Sicily (South-west)

“Half the island is burning,” read headlines in local Sicilian media on Monday, as firefighters were reportedly struggling to attend all the blazes reported across the island.

Sicily has been hit by the largest number of fires overall this summer, according to the national fire brigade.

In the provinces of Palermo, Ragusa, Messina, and beyond “a succession of fires are destroying hectares of woods and vegetation”, reports local newspaper La Sicilia, which added that many fires were believed to have been started deliberately.

READ ALSO: Italy is burning – but many wildfires could be prevented

A major fire on Monte Giancaldo, a mountain overlooking the city of Palermo, burned throughout Sunday night and into Monday, but fortunately didn’t reach residential areas.

No deaths or major incidents were reported, but the risk of fire damage to homes and land is ever-present on the island, where temperatures remain among the hottest in Italy.

Puglia (South-east)

Another part of Italy badly affected by wildfires this summer, like every year; in Puglia, firefighters were battling more than a dozen blazes on Monday.

These included two fires that burned 50 hectares of woodland in the Foggia area, and a blaze stretching for more than a kilometre in scrubland near the coast between Tricase Porto and Marina di Andrano, an area popular with holidaymakers.

Several houses in the area were evacuated on Sunday, while the Tricase-Andrano road was closed to traffic as fire crews battled the flames with assistance from Canadair planes.

As is the case in Italy every year, the most fires were reported in the hotter, drier southern regions.

READ ALSO: Will summer 2022 be Italy’s hottest ever?

Sicily has recorded the highest number of wildfires this summer, with firefighters called out 6,534 times so far according to fire brigade statistics.

Other regions worst affected were Puglia (5,134), Lazio (4,799), Calabria (3,195), Campania (2,730) and Tuscany (1,529

While prolonged hot and dry conditions make wildfires more likely – and more severe – the vast majority of such blazes in Italy are believed to be caused by human actions, and six in ten are started deliberately according to Coldiretti, Italy’s national farmers’ union.

Italy has registered at least three wildfires a day since the start of July, data from EFFIS shows.

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WILDFIRES

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

Europe facing record year for wildfire destruction: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.

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