Forest fires have transformed large parts of central and southern Italy into smouldering ghost towns. Many beaches are deserted, the flames having wreaked destruction all the way to the shore. Tourists have had to be rescued from beaches by boats, fleeing with nothing.
Locals have been talking about their ordeals: “I lost consciousness,” said one woman. “I can’t really tell you what happened. I saw the fire and we were so scared.” The Italian government has said it is providing airline tickets home for all foreigners affected. Two suspected arsonists have been arrested for allegedly trying to start fires in Sardinia and Rome.
In Romania the authorities are also battling forest fires. Firefighters there have appealed for specialised air support to help put them out. In Serbia, 2000 fires are said to be burning countrywide. In Croatia it’s the same story. Forest are ablaze and, in addition, strong winds in the north west of the country are fanning the flames, damaging properties and wiping out crops. Temperatures are said to be unbearable, touching 45 degrees centigrade.