Sardinia inferno ‘like nothing ever seen before’ – fires rage for 60 hours in extreme heat

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The island of Sardinia has been burning for at least 60 hours. The fire broke out in the municipality of Bonarcado when on July 23 a car caught fire due to a road accident. The extreme heatwave sweeping Europe has caused infernos to spread unchecked across the Mediterranean island.

Now almost 1,500 residents of the island have been displaced.

The inferno has scorched 20,000 hectares of land, woods and olive groves.

The flames have also destroyed farmhouses, and villages.

Authorities on the island have led extinguishing operations.

Now Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said he is constantly monitoring the evolution of the situation.

He has expressed his full solidarity with all the affected population and support for firefighters trying to bring the blaze under control.

The governor of the island said he will write to president Draghi to ask the government for immediate economic support to repair the damage.

He said: “We are facing conditions that have never been verified in the history of Sardinian autonomy, due to the extent of the affected territory and the changes in the wind.”

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Speaking to La Stampa, he added: “It is not yet possible to make an exact estimate.

“The situation is still evolving.

“What we are witnessing is a drama of enormous proportions: hectares and hectares gone up in smoke, centuries of environmental and landscape history erased.”

Now the general director of the Civil Protection of Sardinia, Antonio Pasquale Belloi has made a statement and said that “all civil protection associations are already active to support the population”.

He added: “In the last evacuation there were about 400 displaced persons.

“In all, there are about a thousand, but some are already returning to their homes because these are places that have re-established the minimum safety margin.

“The most important thing is that we have managed, despite the devastating weather and climatic conditions from the point of view of the spread of fires, to guarantee the safety of citizens.

“For three days the high temperatures have made the central-western part of Sardinia, the one affected by this fire driven by the wind, explosive.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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