Italy: Wildfires breakout 40km east of Rome, dozens evacuated

Dozens of people were evacuated around 40km from Italy’s capital of Rome on Friday after a wildfire broke as temperatures reached close to 40 degree Celsius.

The fires are moving northwards and overnight 25 families were evacuated from homes as fires spread through the nature reserve of Monte Catillo, near the Rome suburb of Tivoli, firefighters said in a tweet.

Around 30 residents of a home for poor children and orphans were also evacuated to escape the flames.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday promised financial help for communities hit by the fires, and a plan of action to replant forest areas and make the Italian countryside more resilient to natural disasters.

Swathes of southern Italy have been plagued by wildfires in recent weeks, with flames ravaging woodland in Calabria, in the toe of the Italian boot, and on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

Earlier on Wednesday temperature reach almost 49 degree Celsius in south-eastern Sicily, this was the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe.

Neighbouring countries in the Mediterranean region continue to suffer similar conditions, with new fires also breaking out in the Greek island of Evia on Friday.

Experts believe that the fires are largely due to global warming, but authorities have been investigating the causes of specific fires. In Athens, a woman was convicted on Tuesday of intentionally starting a fire in a park and was sentenced to five years in prison.