Tourists flee forest fires in Sicily

SAN VITO LO CAPO - With 20 fires blazing in a few hours, over 250 tourists were evacuated from the “Calampiso” holiday resort, and were put up on Wednesday in the San Vito Lo Capo's hotels. Out of almost 800 tourists, the majority decided to leave the village, as the mayor of San Vito, Matteo Rizzo, coordinated the evacuation operations. "Sicilian tourists preferred to go home,” the mayor explained to Italian daily Il Messaggero “at the end there were about 250 people. Thanks to the facilities made available, it was not necessary to sleep in the school, which yesterday had been transformed into a refreshment point. Thank God the situation has been managed and we have avoided moments of panic."

 Rizzo posted an appeal on facebook on Wednesday, asking for fishermen and tourist boats in the area’s availability in order to transfer visitors to San Vito from the small village that could have been burnt to a crisp. "Our maritime community was very efficient” the mayor explained “all the boats came out very quickly. So we managed to ferry everyone back, then with the buses we brought people to the school." Tourists were able to take a break and enjoy refreshments here. 

 During the night the fire in the area was extinguished. "Now we need to figure out what the damage is, and check the issue of security," said Rizzo. "We are sorry for the tourists’ ruined holidays,” he added, “and for damage to territory. But in the end we were able to control everything with utmost security. "

 After yesterday’s incident, firefighting teams in Sicily are tackling about 20 blazes. The operations in San Vito Lo Capo and Lipari are being completed today. Other fires have just started in Monreale, in the province of Palermo, where a Canadair aircraft is in actions, and in Adrano, Catania, where two helicopters are intervening. Another fire is blazing in Librizzi (Messina) and several outbreaks have been reported in Syracuse. The situation is being handled by the regional Civil Protection operational room. Two meetings to assess the damage and review the situation are expected in Messina and Syracuse.