Italy faced the hottest day of the current heat wave on Friday, with extreme heat red warnings issued in 16 cities around the world. countrywhile firefighters fought the blaze across the country.
Milan in the north is expected to be hardest hit, where temperatures will reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), while Bologna in the south and the capital Rome could reach 39 degrees, according to official government estimates.
Other major cities under the Italian health ministry’s heat wave warning Friday and Saturday include Florence, Genoa, Turin and Verona.
On Thursday, the city of Pavia, south of Milan, broke the record as temperatures rose to 39.6 degrees.
For three consecutive months – May, June and July – national temperatures were at least two to three degrees above the seasonal average, and this trend should continue until early August, according to the national meteorological website ilmeteo.com.
Along with the heat wave, hundreds of fires have taken place in Italy in recent weeks. The biggest still-raging Friday was in central Tuscany, where 860 hectares have burned since Monday in an area west of Lucca.
More than 1,000 people were evacuated on Thursday.
On Friday, 87 firefighters were on site after another night fighting the blaze, aided by reinforcements from the Lombardy and Piedmont regions. Helicopters are currently dumping water, authorities said.
The public prosecutor’s office in Lucca launched an investigation into the cause of the fire.
– Volunteer killed –
More contained was a wildfire that broke out on Tuesday near Trieste, in Italy’s northeasternmost region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, sending flames and plumes of smoke across the border into Slovenia and displacing some 300 people.
The fire that caused a 15-minute blackout on Tuesday in the city of Trieste is now “virtually stable,” Deputy Governor Riccardo Riccardi said Thursday, adding that a cold front is expected on Tuesday.
The authorities have not yet calculated how many hectares burned down.
According to firefighters, a female civil defense volunteer died while extinguishing the fire. Local media reported that she was killed by a fallen tree.
Italy’s National Fire Corps says they have intervened in 32,921 forest fires between June 15 and July 21, up 4,040 from the same period last year.
Most of them were in the southern regions of Sicily, Puglia, Calabria and Lazio, around Rome.
According to the specialized European monitoring service Copernicus, fires in Italy covered 27,571 hectares this year.
However, this damage is still much less than in Spain, where 199,651 hectares burned, or 149,324 hectares in Romania. In Portugal, 48,106 hectares burned, and another 39,904 hectares in France.
Italy “is about to reach the maximum capacity of the African Apocalypse 4800 high pressure zone,” according to ilmeteo.it.
The name, he says, refers to the fact that the thermometer only drops below zero degrees above 4,800 meters (15,748 feet), corresponding to the Alps’ highest peak, Mont Blanc, along the Franco-Italian border.