Wildfires, extreme weather grip Italy

Rome (UNI)
Wildfires raging in Southern Italy began to spread North on Friday as the country remained in the grips of bouts of record-setting severe weather. Much of the Southern island of  Sicily had suffered from widespread wildfires in recent days, and on Friday similar blazes were reported to be spreading on the Italian mainland, in the Southern regions of Calabria and Apulia.

On Friday, Apulia, the heel on Italy’s boot-shaped peninsula, formally requested “emergency” status for the fires there, something that would give the region access to extra funds to confront the issue. All told, more than 50,000 hectares of land had gone up in flames since the start of the year, according to a report released on Friday by the environmental lobby group Legambiente.

The situation remained most critical in Sicily, where around 80 percent of the scorched areas are located, the Legambiente report said. The region has reportedly seen rolling blackouts in recent days as the electricity network struggled to keep up with increased demand for power, with parts of the system, including power lines, damaged by the record heat and fires.


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