Resorts emptied as wildfires scorch Sicily

Aug. 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM
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ROME, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- About 300 tourists were evacuated from Sicilian resorts, officials said, as about 30 fires burned forests and fields across Italy.

Vacationers were forced to evacuate resorts in northwestern portions of the island around Calampiso Sunday, Italian news agency ANSA reported. They were taken to nearby San Vito Lo Capo, where they slept outside in the yard of an elementary school.

A blaze near San Vito Lo Capo had cut off roads to some resorts around Castelluzzo.

A forestry worker was killed Saturday near Castronovo di Sicilia, about 30 miles southeast of Palermo, while helping to fight the fires.

The mayor of San Vito Lo Capo said the nearby Zingaro nature reserve "has gone up in smoke." While the fire was reported under control, Matteo Rizzo said that was only because the fire had burned itself out.

Sicilian authorities sent out nine different requests for help, while officials in the Italian regions of Campania and Lazio have each made six requests.

Italy's hot, dry weather, with temperatures reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of Sicily, is blamed for many of the fires, with the rest traced to human factors.

Half the man-made fires have been caused by accidents and the other half were set deliberately, a forestry official said.

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