Wildfires that have killed two people continued to rage on the Italian island ofSardinia as temperatures topped 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius),the Civil Protection Agency said.
The situation is not improving at all as the temperature is rising, General Luciano Massetti, director of the agencys air-force department, said today by phone. There are currently eight fires going, some of which are close to populated areas and the tourist resorts of the Costa Smeralda.
The agency is using eight of its 14 Canadair aircraft to fight the fires, which killed two people yesterday near Sassari in the islands north, and has permission to use two European Union aircraft located in Corsica, Massetti said. Temperatures across Sardinia rose above 92 degrees at 1 p.m. today, after topping 100 degrees in the regions capital, Cagliari, according to thelocal weather center.
Fires killed 57 people on the island between 1945 and 2008, Ugo Cappellacci, president of the Sardinia region, said in an e- mailed statement today. The island is one of the most popular and exclusive destinations for tourists in Italy. Prime MinisterSilvio Berlusconi has a villa in its northeast near where the fires are raging.
Coldiretti, Italys farmers union, asked for a state of emergency to be declared and urged the authorities to quickly assess the damage to agriculture, the lobby said in an e-mailed statement. It also urged the banks to allow agricultural companies affected by the fires to suspend repaying loans.
Few of the blazes are spontaneous and it will be up to the police to establish the exact cause, Massetti said about this years fires, adding that the agency is also trying to extinguish another fire near Prato in Tuscany, central Italy.