2 killed, hundreds evacuated amid wildfires in Italy's Sicily

International |  IANS  | Published :

Rome, Sep 24 (IANS) Two people died and many hundreds were evacuated after wildfires consumed large parts of northern Sicily, Italy, according to local media reports.

The fire blazed areas around the Sicilian capital of Palermo, especially the coastal resort town of Cefalu, local media said on Saturday, adding that a woman and an elderly man perished while fleeing the blaze.

Around 700 people were evacuated from a hotel near Cefalu on Friday night. They returned to the hotel after the danger perished.

Reports said police and firefighters were looking into the cause of the latest fire, though there were no immediate indications of what might have started the fires, Xinhua news agency reported.

Wildfires have caused a record-high level of damage to the southern Italian island this year. Between late May and August, a long and dry heatwave put much of Italy in its grips. The weather has cooled since then, but the threat of wildfires still remained as there was unseasonably light rainfall.

Coldiretti, Italy's main agricultural union, estimated in August that wildfires had consumed more than 600 square km of land on Sicily this year, more than in all of 2022. The latest round of fires will add to that total.

Arson is suspected in several of the wildfires in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy this year, according to regional officials and news reports. But no arson-related arrests have been made public so far.

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