About 700 tourists were evacuated by boat from a seaside resort in Sicily on Wednesday (July 12) because fires were still burning in southern Italy. As the fire arrived at the coastal resort of Kalampiso, local authorities asked for help from fishermen and boat owners to help with the evacuation.
There were no reports of fire injuries. On his Facebook page, the Mayor described the situation in the western village of Palermo as “very urgent.” “We need minibuses and cars to take people to the small port and take them to school buildings,” he said. “Let’s all do something.”
Temperatures have risen above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in arid southern regions after months of poor rainfall. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in a speech that 23 fires were raging in the country and that the government “actively follows this difficult situation.”
The National Fire Service said it had participated in 441 operations across Italy, including 288 fires. Vesuvius is the hardest hit. Some 70 firefighters have treated the huge fire on the ground as well as civilian protection volunteers. Three helicopters were also deployed to help contain the fire.
Environment Minister Gian Luka Galitit said a man had been arrested on suspicion of a fire in the area. “If a person sets fire to Visov, I want to see them in jail for 15 years,” Galletti told Italian media. Thousands of people, animals and natural reserves are at risk around the volcano, the WWF said. “The situation is severe, so exceptional action is needed,” The WWF said in a statement.