Fires sweep across southern Italy

Some 200 fires swept across southern Italy, causing at least one death from smoke inhalation, according to the Italian civil protection service. The most serious blazes were concentrated in the region of Calabria.


More than 200 fires swept across southern Italy Saturday and a man died in Sicily from smoke inhalation, the civil protection service said.

The most serious blazes -- about 120 of them -- were concentrated in the Calabria. Others raged in Sicily, Sardinia, Liguria and Puglia, where 2,500 people were evacuated Friday as a precautionary measure.

In Sicily, 35-year-old Guiseppe Rizzo died of smoke inhalation as he tried to stamp out a fire on family land. Four other people were affected by the fumes but are not in danger, the ANSA news agency reported.

Last year 12 people died in fires in Italy, when more than 7,000 fires damaged 112,000 hectares (275,000 acres) of mainly forested land. This year has been better, with less than 2,800 recorded to date.

Most fires in Italy are of criminal origin.

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