Italy’s northwest regions engulfed in wildfires

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’s northwest areas remained on high alert for fire danger when wildfires devastated the Piedmont region at the border with France since Oct. 10, spreading to the nearby Lombardy region, the Italian Fire Department said on Monday .

“Up to mid-Monday, fire-fighters were at work in 11 areas between the provinces of Turin and Cuneo in Piedmont, and in at least four areas in Lombardy,’’ the department stated.

Interior Minister Marco Minniti chaired an emergency meeting with local authorities in Turin, capital of piedmont region, and was to call another meeting in Lombardy’s city of Varese.

In the Susa Valley, where Turin metropolitan area lies, the situation appeared very critical on Sunday, and about 700 residents scattered in several hamlets were evacuated, including a care home for the elderly.

“Overall, some 502 fire-fighters have been deployed across 22 areas in Piedmont in the last 48 hours.

No fewer than eight of them suffered from smoke intoxication so far, but no other casualties were reported,’’ local authorities said.

Piedmont submitted a state of emergency request to the central government on Oct. 27.

According to the regional government, when a state of maximum alert due to fire danger was declared on Oct. 10, some 130 wildfires spread across the region, devastating no less than 2,000 hectares of land.

Overall, some 2,000 fire-fighters and civil protection officers, plus 2,200 volunteers, and 500 emergency vehicles were deployed.

The situation appeared to be worsening in Lombardy, due to wildfires combined with a prolonged lack of rain.

The civil protection councillor told local media ahead of the scheduled meeting with Minniti, the interior minister that the regional government would plan to file a request for the state of emergency as well.

Fires were affecting areas across five different municipalities, including Varese and Como near the border with Switzerland.

A report said four helicopters, two Canadair water-dropping planes dispatched from the central government, and a third one from Croatia were being deployed for aerial fire-fighting in Lombardy. (Xinhua/NAN)


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