Firefighters 'victorious' against Northern wildfires

MILAN - Firefighters tackling the forest fires that have ravaged Northern Italy for the past month have finally been granted a victory as the blaze quietens.

 Firefighters are currently tackling the last flames in the Susa Valley, Pinerolese and Canavese. The fierce wind which has propagated the flames has died down, but emergency response teams remain on high alert as outbreaks continue to occur across the Lombardy and Piedmont regions.

 Swiss and Croatian aircrafts have been tackling the blaze from the air, and ten Italian soldiers also fought the flames in the Canavese. These groups have been aiding the Italian firefighters who have been attempting to extinguish the flames for a week already.

 The devastation caused by these forest fires has been widespread: Lombardy and Piedmont asked for states of emergency to be declared Monday, as hundreds were forced to evacuate due to the thick smog hovering over the area from the fiery smoke. Gascheria and Boschietto are left without water, as the fire has damaged the water pipeline.

 In the Susa Valley, around 700 residents have been evacuated, including elderly residents in a care home in the region. At least eight of the firefighters have also reportedly suffered from smoke intoxication. Minister of the Environment, Gian Luca Galletti has called the situation critical, “especially concerning air quality,” as the fires have shot tonnes of sooty ash into the air.

 An investigation into the cause of the fires has revealed that arson may be in part to blame. The Minister of the Interior, Marco Minniti, spoke at a crisis meeting at Turin on Monday and stated: “we did not find devices that were already worn, but devices ready to act. So it means that there has been or are supposed to have been an activity of an arduous nature.”

 It is also likely that the flames spread rapidly due to abnormally dry climate of the regions, having had less than usual rainfall this summer and autumn.

hl