Fires rage across Italy, 4 dead
Azerbaijan, Baku/ Trend / ( AP ) - Dozens of fires were raging in central and southern Italy on Tuesday, killing four people and destroying hundreds of acres of forest, according to news reports.
From Castel Gandolfo in the hills south of Rome to the Amalfi coast and the Puglia region on the heel of Italy, firefighters were battling blazes amid soaring temperatures and strong winds.
Two charred bodies were found in the remains of a car on a road in Puglia, while another two people died suffocated by the smoke on a beach nearby, the ANSA news agency said.
Hundreds of tourists and residents had to leave their hotels or apartments when a huge fire broke out in the Gargano peninsula, a spur of land above the heel of the Italian boot, where temperatures hit 42 degrees Celsius ( 107.6 Fahrenheit), ANSA said. About 250 people on the beach had to be rescued by boat.
Officials in the nearby city of Foggia, where rescue and firefighting efforts for Puglia were being coordinated, were not immediately available to confirm the reports.
Firefighters took hours to put out a blaze in the Amalfi coast, while in Castel Gandolfo -- where popes often vacation in August -- 100 hectares ( 247 acres) of forest were burned and two hotels were evacuated, reports said. Other fires were reported in the region that includes Naples, Sardinia and central Italy.
"We are bound to have a tough fight," said Guido Bertolaso, the head of the Civil Protection Department that has been coordinating efforts to combat the fires.
On Monday, a firefighting plane crashed in the Abruzzo region, killing one crew member and seriously injuring another.
In Rome, which registered 36 degrees Celsius ( 96.8 Fahrenheit) earlier in the day, tourists sought refuge by dipping their feet in the city's fountains.
Italy has been hit by a heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius ( 104 Fahrenheit) in some cities, while many others registered temperatures in the high 30s Celsius (about 100 Fahrenheit).
But officials say many of the fires are the result of arson rather than the heat.