Wildfires Force Italian Airport Closure, Blanket Roads With Smoke

Wildfires raging on the perimeter of Falcone Borsellino Airport in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. [Twitter/Screenshot/User: @@matteosalvinimi]

John Oyewale Contributor
Font Size:

An Italian international airport was forced to close early Tuesday due to nearby wildfires, Euronews Travel reported.

Falcone Borsellino Airport in Palermo, the capital of the Italian island of Sicily, suspended all air traffic as wildfires raged around the airport, according to Euronews Travel. Firefighters reportedly battled all through Monday night to contain the fires, which broke out that evening.

The airport was reopened at about 11 a.m. local time but “only a limited number of departing flights will be allowed. For arrivals, weather conditions are being monitored. Updating…,” according to a tweet by the airport’s authorities.

The fires also disrupted road and rail transport in the surrounding area, with one woman losing her life as an ambulance could not reach her, the Euronews Travel report noted. (RELATED: Officials Warn Wildfire Smoke May Last Through September In US)

Wildfires reportedly raged in other parts of Italy as well. Tourists from various resorts in the city of Catania, roughly 150 miles southwest of Palermo, as well as from Trapani and Segesta, were evacuated, per the report. The fires reportedly threatened lush vegetation in the Catanian resorts and the ancient buildings in Segesta’s famous archaeological park.

“I thank the firefighters, technicians, workers and all those who in these hours, throughout Italy, from Milan to Palermo, are working hard to limit the damage and protect citizens from the dramatic consequences of bad weather and fires, with the aim of restoring suspended services as soon as possible,” Transport Minister Matteo Salvini said in part in a tweet early Tuesday.

Sicily sweltered at nearly 119 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius), as the fires still raged on over 50 fronts and inched close to the ancient Doric temple, the Greek City Times reported Tuesday. A 98-year-old man was found dead in his burnt farmhouse and a 55-year-old seasonal worker who contributed to firefighting efforts died from an obstruction, the Greek City Times noted.