Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Wildfires scorch Italy, suspected arsonist in custody

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - Rome, July 20 - A series of forest fires continud
to rage across Italy Friday while Italian police said an arson
suspect in Tuscany was in custody.
The 68 year-old suspect is accused of setting a dozen fires
since last September in the area surrounding Arezzo, where
police arrested the man late Thursday.
The suspect was allegedly caught red-handed setting fire to
brush. He is currently under house arrest.
Another fire exploded late Friday morning in Nuoro, central
Sardinia, forcing the evacuation of a local university.
The fires have been blazing around Viterbo in Lazio, in
Liguria, in Sardinia and in the Pollino National Park in
southern Italy, scorching thousands of hectares of forest land
and anything in their path.
In the province of Viterbo, flames consumed approximately
80 hectares of forest, including oak, beech and chestnut trees
in the nature reserve of Lake Vico.
Some 70 hectares of forests have already been destroyed
near Grosseto and Arezzo, in central Tuscay, even as
firefighters, equipped with two specialized fire-extinguishing
Canadair planes from Italy's civil protection agency and with
helicopters, have worked through the night.
No people or houses are at risk, authorities said of the
fires in these areas.
Volunteers are also helping the efforts.
At risk of catching fire are also swathes of the Pollino
National Park, shared between the southern regions of Calabria
and Basilicata.
"The whole park is surrounded by fires. What's happening
tells us this will not be a calm year," said Domenico
Pappaterra, the park's president.
The blaze is believed to have been started deliberately
early Monday afternoon and by Wednesday the flames had already
destroyed about 500 hectares of brush.
Arsonists are often blamed in forest fires in Italy, and
suspicion usually focuses on farmers seeking to clear space for
agricultural purposes or land developers hoping to win permits
for new constructions.

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