Forest fire west of genoa adds to italy's wildfire woes

Blazes up by 76% since beginning of year

Forest fire west of genoa adds to italy's wildfire woes

(ANSA) - Genoa, July 17 - A forest wildfire broke out in the province of Imperia, west of Genoa Tuesday, in a summer scorched by an unusual number of fires across Italy. Three hectares went up in flame and dozens of other hectares are under threat near Imperia where firefighters are working to contain flames with the aid of two helicopters. A third is on its way. More fires are raging across greater areas of Italy this year as rain refuses to fall across many of Italy's most arid zones, and 550 fires were reported over the last weekend alone, Italy's State Forest Police reported Monday. The number of fires since the beginning of the year is up by 76% and the area burnt has increased by 57%, said the State Forest Police. Dry conditions have turned vast areas into kindling, with rain down by 83% overall in Italy, and down by 99% in various parts of the southern and central Italy, as well as Sicily and Sardinia, the farmers group Coldiretti said Monday. A wildfire fed by high winds seared roughly 100 hectares in northeastern Sardinia, near the Emerald coast, forcing the evacuation of 800 people - largely tourists - and injuring five firefighters. In Ragusa, southern Sicily, firefighters fought a blaze consuming roughly 100 hectares of forest on Sunday and Monday. A fire near Rome interrupted ventilation systems for the Appia Gallery on Rome's arterial ring road Sunday night. The southern Italian region of Molise issued fire emergency rules on Monday that prohibit fires of any kind - even lighting up or smoking a cigarette - in local pine forests and pastures until September 30.

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