Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, September 22, 2021

World

Evacuations by sea as high temps fuel wildfires in Sicily

MILAN (AP) — Firefighters on the Italian island of Sicily on Saturday battled dozens of wildfires fueled by temperatures topping 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit), prompting the region’s governor to request assistance from Rome.

Some 150 people trapped in two seaside areas in the city of Catania were evacuated late Friday by sea, where they were picked up by rubber dinghies and transferred to Coast Guard boats. A beach concession area with sunbeds and umbrellas was completely destroyed by fire.

The Catania airport also was briefly closed to give precedence to helicopters and planes battling the flames.

Regional Gov. Nello Musumeci told reporters that some fires appeared to have been caused by arsonists, while others had natural causes as temperatures hit record levels.

While convicted arsonists face jail time in Italy, Musumeci said it is usually limited to six months or a year. “Instead it should be a life sentence,″ he said.

The wildfires also affected the Sicilian provinces of Palermo, Syracuse and Messina.

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