Sardinia wildfires: Italian island burns as raging blazes take hold

Hundreds have been forced to evacuate as wildfires rage on the Italian island of Sardinia on Sunday. The fires are located around the historic central-western area of Monitferru, and have already burned 50,000 acres of land by the end of Sunday.

Evacuations have been implemented in towns and villages including Scano di Montiferro, Santu Lussurgiu, Cuglieri, Sennariolo, Tresnuraghes, Magomadas, Flussio and Tinnura.

Businesses and homes have been damaged and destroyed in the blaze, causing 1,500 people to evacuate.

No deaths or injuries have been reported so far, although it is presumed livestock living on the land has been killed.

The blaze began in the province of Oristano, which has a population of just over 30,000.

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The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

The EU on Sunday sent four firefighting planes, including two Canadair planes provided by France, to support 11 aircraft working to extinguish the fires raging close to 13 towns.

But the efforts have been hampered by strong and hot winds, even with 7,000 firefighters working to tackle the blaze.

Regional authorities have declared a ‘state of calamity’, with the Sardinian President Christian Solinas saying a support plan will be needed from the central Italian Government.

He described the wildfires as “an unprecedented disaster”.

He wrote in a statement: “Ten thousand hectares of vegetation destroyed, businesses and houses burned, livestock killed.”

Luigi di Maio, Italy’s Foreign Minister, wrote on Facebook on Sunday: ”For several hours a large area in the province of Oristano has been on its knees due to a devastating fire.

“There are hundreds of people evacuated and the entire area, including housing, has been burnt in flames and managed.”

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Weather conditions in southern Europe were in sharp contrast to the torrential rainstorms that lashed northern countries from Austria to Britain following the catastrophic flooding in Germany and neighbouring countries last week.

Fires have been raging across parts of Southern Europe, including Spain and Greece.

In Spain, the northeastern region of Catalonia saw more than 1,500 hectares destroyed near Santa Coloma de Queralt, forcing dozens to be evacuated, although the blazes were 90 percent stabilised on Monday, firefighters and authorities said.

In Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said firefighters had battled around 50 fires during the past 24 hours and it was likely there would be more with meteorologists warning that a further heatwave was in prospect.

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