Italy fights forest fires from Tuscany to Trieste

Italy fights forest fires from Tuscany to Trieste

MILAN, July 20 (Reuters) – Tuscany firefighters fought on Wednesday for another day to control a forest fire that has forced hundreds to evacuate, while a fire in northeastern Italy spread to Slovenia and threatened to leave the city of Trieste without electricity and water.

Forest fires have broken out in several parts of Italy this week as temperatures continue to rise.

Nine cities were on the country’s highest heat wave forecast, which warns of serious health risks associated with the weather, up from five on Tuesday. The total is expected to rise to 14 on Thursday, including Rome, Milan and Florence, and 16 on Friday.

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Temperatures are forecast to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) over a region of north and center this week, as well as in Puglia in the south and the islands of Sardinia and Sicily.

On Wednesday, a fire that broke out on Monday night near the Tuscan town of Lucca continued to burn, after destroying around 650 hectares of forest.

It forced around 300 people to evacuate as the flames erupted through the night, reaching some villages and causing some liquefied gas tanks to explode, the region’s governor Eugenio Giani said on Twitter.

“Some fronts have strengthened due to the wind,” Giani said. “We aim to contain the fire within a specific area by tonight when (helicopters and Canadair water bombers) stop flying.”

Meanwhile, the northeastern Friuli Venezia Giulia local administration is preparing to extend to the entire region a fire alert following a fire that started on Tuesday in the Carso area bordering Croatia and Slovenia.

Residents were urged to stay indoors on Wednesday due to heavy smoke and state-owned shipbuilder Fincantieri (FCT.MI) shut down a 3,000-employee facility in the Adriatic port city of Monfalcone.

As the fire crossed the border into Slovenia, residents of four villages seen in the danger zone from the flames have been urged to leave their homes, Italian media reported.

Trieste Mayor Roberto Dipiazza told a local TV channel that parts of the city with around 200,000 people may soon stop receiving electricity, without specifying why, and that this will affect the water supply because pumps will not be able to work.

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Reporting by Valentina Za and Elvira Pollina; Edited by John Stonestreet and Alison Williams

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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