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Sardinia fires damage homes, business as Italy pleads for help

By
Kyle Barnett
Fires burn in the Scano di Montiferro commune, in the province of Oristano, Sardinia Island, Italy, on Saturday. Photo by Manuele Scordo/EPA-EFE
Fires burn in the Scano di Montiferro commune, in the province of Oristano, Sardinia Island, Italy, on Saturday. Photo by Manuele Scordo/EPA-EFE

July 26 (UPI) -- Italy received assistance from the rest of Europe on Monday as wildfires spread over 50,000 acres in the southwest of the island of Sardinia.

The European Union sent four aircraft to the area to assist in the efforts, The Guardian reported.

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Officials on the island, located northwest of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, have been fighting fires since Saturday amid a heatwave. More than 7,000 firefighters were working to put out the blazes.

"The fires continue to be active on different fronts. All the available teams are there," the Oristano firefighting unit said in a statement.

Sardinian officials issued an emergency declaration Sunday.

Christian Solinas, who serves as president to the Sardinia region, described the fire as "an unprecedented disaster."

Some 1,500 people have been evacuated from the fires which have encroached on 13 towns.

"I put my family in the car and we escaped," Carlo Inzis told La Nuova Sardegna newspaper. "First we went to Sennariolo, then Macomer and then Bosa ... In essence, we spent the whole night fleeing."

Officials evacuated the village of Scano di Montiferro over the weekend along with several other nearby towns and villages.

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The island similarly suffered from wildfires in 1983 and 1994.

In 2013, 20,000 acres burned on the island before coming under control.

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