Fires Scar Northern Sicily Landscape

About thirty fires scorched Sicily’s fields and forests this week, causing evacuations of hundreds of people, most from hotels and camping areas near Zingaro National Park. 

The park, located on the northwest tip of the island, contains 1,600 hectares and is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. That fire was brought under control after 12 hours, but the damage to the reserve may be extensive, according to various reports. Other fires were reported in Monreale, Castronovo di Sicilia, Borgetto, Aliminusa, Alton, Castelbuono, Santa Cristina Gela, and Geraci Siculus.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured this true-color image of the fires on August 6, 2012. The thickest band of hotspots runs along the northern coast of Sicily, but fires are scattered throughout the island. Fires also speckle the tip of mainland Italy, in the north of the image.

Italy has been suffering under hot, dry weather this summer, with temperatures reported as high as 104°F. The Sirocco winds, which blow up from the Sahara desert with speeds of up to 50 mph, contribute to fire risk, and can rekindle fires that have been brought under control.

As of August 6, the fires were reported as responsible for one death. A forestry worker was killed fighting the fire near Castronovo di Sicilia.