Record heat in Italy, also affected by fires

The peninsula is currently facing its hottest week of the summer, and numerous fires

A wave of heat carried by the anticyclone “Lucifer” hit Italy this week, which on Wednesday recorded a record temperature of 48.8 degrees in Sicily in the Syracuse region.

The peninsula is currently facing its last week. warmer of the summer, and if the national meteorology confirms the data recorded by the Sicily region, it will be the highest temperature ever recorded in Italy. The previous record dated from 1999 with 48.5 degrees, still in Sicily.

300 interventions by firefighters in twelve hours

In Calabria, the Italian tip of the Boot, and in Sicily, the firefighters had to carry out 300 interventions in twelve hours, and seven Canadair have been mobilized since dawn, firefighters announced. A 77-year-old man died Wednesday from burns he received while trying to shelter his herd in the countryside near Reggio Calabria.

The Madonie, a mountainous area near the Sicilian capital Palermo, have been besieged for several days by flames, fed by wind and heat, which destroy crops, homes and industrial buildings.

The governor of Sicily Nello Musumeci asked that the state of national emergency be declared for the Madonie. Agriculture Minister Stefano Patuanelli visited on Wednesday and pledged “help that we must give to those who have lost everything.”

“The role of agriculture”

“We must also promote the role of agriculture as guardian of the territory. We must ensure that the farmer who takes care of unproductive land, with management serving to prevent fires, is protected and supported ”, he added.

In Calabria, the flames threaten the Aspromonte Unesco Global Geopark, a complex of mountains, ridges and plateaus nearly 2,000 meters high alternating with deep valleys rising on a peninsular fragment of the Apennine range, offering a spectacular panorama over the Strait of Messina , Etna and the Aeolian Islands.

The president of the environmental NGO WWF Italy called on Tuesday for “the immediate intervention of additional air resources”. “Otherwise it will be too late and we will forever lose an invaluable heritage,” he lamented.

The number of fires multiplied by three

He also called for “increased surveillance on the ground because in the areas where the fires were put out new outbreaks were recorded, obviously started by unscrupulous criminals”, he said. he denounced.

Sardinia, where a 35-year-old breeder suspected of arson was arrested on Tuesday, is not spared: thirteen fires were recorded for Tuesday alone, and six d ‘between them required the intervention of air means.

According to Coldiretti, the main agricultural union, the number of fires has more than tripled this summer compared to the average over the same period between 2008 and 2020.

“If on the one hand six out of ten fires are of criminal origin, on the other hand it is necessary to underline the consequences of the closure of agricultural operations, the lack of monitoring of forests in the public domain”, highlights before the union, while more than a third of Italy is covered with woods and forests (11.4 million hectares). “We must put an end to the abandonment of the countryside,” he concludes.

More heat to come

In the coming days, the high pressure area responsible for the heat wave overwhelming Italy, aptly baptized Lucifer, should move north, where temperatures should reach for the weekend of August 15 39-40 degrees in Tuscany (center) and Lazio (region of Rome). 47>

In Rome on Wednesday, tourists didn’t seem too bothered by the heat: “I knew it would be hot, but I like it. It doesn’t bother me (…) It’s the goal of the summer to be hot and sweaty and enjoy it! “Said 20-year-old French tourist, Nora Vert, who passed by a fountain in the Place d’Espagne.