Hundreds forced to evacuate as wildfires ravage Sardinia

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes after a wildfire on the Italian island of Sardinia ravaged around 50,000 acres of forest and vegetation on Sunday.

As many as 1,500 people have been forced to flee their homes after businesses and properties were damaged in the blaze, which began on Saturday in the province of Oristano. 

"It’s a disaster without precedent," said Christian Solinas, the island’s governor, adding that it was too early to know the true extent of the destruction. 

Luigi di Maio, Italy’s foreign minister, said on Sunday that a "large area in the province of Oristano is on its knees", and added that the civil protection agency had appealed for support from Italy’s European neighbours. 

A number of towns and villages have been evacuated, but there have so far been no reports of deaths or injuries

Credit: Alessandro Tocco/LaPresse/AP

Around 50,000 acres of vegetation and woodland are believed to have been ravaged by the fires

Credit: Emanuele Perrone/Getty Images

A fox lies dead following the blaze, which started in the province of Oristano

Credit: Emanuele Perrone/Getty Images

Firefighting aircraft from France and Greece arrived in Italy on Sunday following the appeal for help in taming the fires, which has been complicated by hot southwesterly winds. 

Two Canadair planes provided by France could be seen collecting water off the coast of Porto Alabe, before flying low over beachfront properties and emptying it over the blazing vegetation just behind them. 

Another two aircraft from Greece were also deployed to the scene to support the seven aircraft which were already at work in the area. 

Janez Lenarcic, the EU’s crisis management commissioner, thanked France and Greece for their "prompt solidarity".

Luigi di Maio, Italy's foreign minister, said that a 'large area in the province of Oristano is on its knees'

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A tanker plane dropping water over Sardinia

Credit: Emanuele Perrone/Getty

Efforts to control the fires have been hampered by hot southwesterly winds

Credit: Alessandro Tocco/LaPresse/AP

Mr Lenarcic said that the bloc’s Emergency Response Coordination Center "remains in close contact with the Italian authorities to monitor developments on the ground and coordinate any further assistance as needed".

In total about 7,500 emergency workers, including members of Italy’s forest police and the Red Cross, helped evacuees and those at risk on Sunday, the fire service said.

The fires are located around the historic central-western area of Monitferru, and evacuations have been implemented in towns and villages including Scano di Montiferro, Santu Lussurgiu, Cuglieri, Sennariolo, Tresnuraghes, Magomadas, Flussio and Tinnura. 

There were no reports of anyone being killed or injured in the wildfires.

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