Updated 11:09 | Posted at 4:32 am
There are a number of fires now affecting Sicily.
Palermo airport was forced to close and train services were suspended.
The fires have reached the outskirts of Palermo and a large number of people have been evacuated.
Next to Falcon Borsellino Airport on the outskirts of Palermo, a fire has now broken out which has closed the airport for the morning. It reopened in the morning for a “limited number of departures”.
Several departures were canceled and some incoming flights were diverted to Trapani Airport in the western part of the island.
Provincial authorities have issued a red alert for six of the island’s nine districts.
The warning is the most serious and the authorities warn that the heat is “likely to generate fires with very high fire density and very rapid spread”.
I reached the outskirts of Palermo
According to the local rescue service, there are currently fires in several places around Palermo. In the work of extinguishing fires, firefighting aircraft are used, among others.
“As a result of the high temperatures of the past few days, the area is currently affected by several vegetation fires,” the island’s local rescue service wrote.
Local newspaper Palermo Today reports that the fires have also reached the western suburbs of the city. In Al-Bayda district, hundreds of people were reportedly evacuated from the fires. In total, about 55 places on the island will be burning on Tuesday morning.
A resident of the area told the newspaper, “We hear sirens and explosions. We are surrounded by fire.”
In total, the authorities are said to have evacuated more than 1,500 people.
At the same time, the heat caused the area to experience several major power outages, and at the same time that the emergency services battled the fire, several elevators that had stopped working had to be rescued.
In addition to the areas around Palermo, fires are ravaging the northwestern tip of Sicily. In the popular tourist town of San Vito lo Capo, the neighboring Monte Monaco mountain can be seen ablaze.
It is difficult for emergency services to access
The fires caused many problems for the rescue service on the island. In the village of San Martino delle Scale on the outskirts of Palermo, an 88-year-old woman died in her home when an ambulance could not arrive, Palermo Today reports.
The woman must be running a high fever and the ambulance has been alerted but is unable to reach the woman’s home due to fires in the area.
It creates traffic problems
In addition to air traffic, automobile and train traffic was also affected by the fires.
Train services between Palermo and the airport are said to have been cancelled, and several regional trains may be delayed and cancelled. A number of roads around the airport, including the highway, were also closed during the morning.
Just over a week ago, Sicily’s second international airport, Catania, was closed. Until then it was closed due to the fire.