Firefighters in Sicily are battling more than a hundred wildfires on the Italian island, some of which may have been started deliberately.
Strong winds have helped spread the flames, forcing dozens of residents around Palermo to flee their homes.
50 children were reportedly hospitalsed in the capital, suffering smoke inhalation.
‘‘We were evacuated via the emergency exits by the police. Once we were outside, we came here to the evacuation centre, which also has some minibuses,’‘ said one resident of a building in Palermo.
Several parts of northern Sicily have been affected, including Palermo, Messina and Collesano.
The sudden and the simultaneous nature of the fires has led to suspicions of arson. Authorities have launched an investigation into whether the blazes were deliberately begun with the aim of destroying land to release new building areas.
Two main roads linking Palermo to the rest of the island have also been cut off, while some 15,000 homes are said to be without electricity.