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Summer Wildfires Sweep Europe Again
by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) Aug 20, 2012


56,000 hectares of land ravaged in Croatia fires
Zagreb (AFP) Aug 20, 2012 - Some 56,000 hectares (138,379 acres) of land were ravaged in fires in Croatia since January, 55 percent more than during the same period last year, the national rescue services (DUZS) said Monday.

The number of blazes has risen to more than 7,800, an increase of 25 percent compared with January-August 2011, the Hina news agency reported, citing the DUZS statement.

Most of the fires were registered along the coast where almost 24,000 hectares were burnt, while more than 32,000 hectares of land were ravaged in continental Croatia, it added.

Croatia has been hit by dozens of fires that have burned several thousand hectares along the scenic coastline since July.

On Monday, about 140 firefighters battled a blaze in the coastal area around Sibenik, where some 500 hectares were in flames.

An Italian firefighter died and another was injured on Monday when they were overcome by fumes from one of dozens of wildfires raging in the country as a heatwave reaches its peak, officials said.

The man was killed in the Campania region near Naples, which has been the worst hit by forest fires this season with regional officials saying around 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of land have been scorched there this month.

The fire service reported there were a total of 155 forest fires across Italy on Sunday including in the central Tuscany and Lazio regions.

The civil protection agency said planes and helicopters had to be called out to 30 separate incidents times on Monday to help battle the blazes.

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