Over 600 People Evacuated as Massive Wildfires Ravage Sardinia in Italy
Over 600 people have been evacuated due to the massive wildfires on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Italy. The firefighting efforts have been significantly hindered by strong winds. As a result, the local authorities made the decision to evacuate approximately 600 people from towns and villages on the eastern coast of the island, including the municipality of Pozada, where one of the major fires broke out on Sunday. Euronews reported on this development.
Tourists staying in campgrounds, luxury resorts, hotels, and nearby restaurants were also asked to leave the area. There have been reports of injuries caused by the fires, including a 70-year-old woman who sustained injuries while choosing to stay in her house in the town of Bolotana. Fortunately, she was rescued by the emergency services on Monday.
Six teams of firefighters, comprising 30 officers and 12 vehicles, were deployed to tackle the fires. However, their efforts were hampered by the strong winds, and the Canadair aircraft's water-dropping operations on Sunday proved to be largely ineffective.
"Despite the enormous number of firefighters, the situation is truly dramatic. The wind blows with such force that the fight becomes unfair," said Giorgio Frezu, a member of the Pozada city council, as quoted by local media.
The wildfires also caused damage to the southern coast of Sardinia and the surrounding area of the island's main city, Cagliari. Wind speeds reached 100 km/h on Sunday. Among the affected areas was a protected zone, home to hundreds of flamingos, which serve as a symbol of the region and the city.
In response to the crisis, the local mayor has taken preventive measures and announced the closure of all parks and cemeteries on the island. The origin of the fires remains unknown, but similar to the situation in Sicily, where similar issues occurred, arson is suspected.
Christian Solinas, the President of the region, stated that deliberate acts cannot be ruled out as the cause of the fires. Local media quoted the mayor of Muravera, another area affected by the fires, calling for severe punishment for those involved if arson is proven. The Italian government is currently working on introducing stricter penalties for arson in the country and is expected to present a new legislative proposal on this matter on Monday.
It's worth noting that Sardinia, like most parts of Italy, has recently experienced extreme temperatures. For instance, last month, the city of Gerzu recorded a record temperature of 48 degrees Celsius.
According to a report from the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the July temperatures were so extreme that the month "significantly exceeded previous records." The July of 2023 was the hottest in this period since climate data was recorded in 1940. Scientists also highlight that the July temperatures were the warmest in the last 120,000 years, considering climatic information from millennia obtained through the study of tree rings, coral reefs, and deep-sea deposits.