Hundreds evacuated as Italy winds feed wildfire

Hundreds evacuated as Italy winds feed wildfire

26 December 2011

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Italy — More than 250 people have been evacuated from their homes near Savona, north-west Italy, as strong winds fed a wildfire 2.5 miles wide, according to rescue workers.

People living in three Italian villages around the Ligurian coastal town of Vado Ligure were evacuated at the weekend, local mayor Attilio Caviglia told the Sky TG24 news channel.

More than 1,000 firefighters and emergency staff, backed by five water-bombing Canadair aircraft and two helicopters, were mobilised to fight the blaze which broke out overnight Saturday and quickly destroyed 500 acres of forest.

Authorities were forced to close part of the A10 motorway leading to the French border as the wind reached more than 55 miles an hour.

The evacuated residents were returned home on Monday.

Smoke from the wildfire blackened houses and destroyed garden sheds but no greater damage was caused, Caviglia said. One resident suffered minor burns to his hands.

Investigators from the forestry service launched a probe into the cause of the blaze.

Witnesses said a man had been seen near the scene of the outbreak just beforehand, while others spoke of teenagers setting off fireworks in the vicinity.

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