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Why is Sicily burning?

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By Catherine Hardy
Why is Sicily burning?

What is happening?

A heat wave, fanned by a strong Sirocco wind, is spreading wildfires around Palermo in Sicily.

Several residential areas have been damaged.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes.

A kindergarten has also been threatened by the flames.

Has anyone been hurt?

There have been no reports of deaths so far.

However, 22 people have been treated in hospital for the effects of smoke.

Are the fires out of control?

The authorities say they are not.

An emergency local government summit is scheduled to take place to assess the situation.

The Italian Civil Protection Agency is warning about the high risk of fires on the island.

Has an investigation been launched?


The sudden and simultaneous nature of the fires has led to suspicions that they were started deliberately.

Officials say they have found no indication of arson so far.