Arson, negligence suspected in wildfires in Italy’s Genoa

Genoa (Italy), Jan 17 (IANS/AKI) Arson and human error are the suspected causes of wildfires in hills around the northwestern Italian port city of Genoa that drove hundreds of people from their homes overnight, investigators said on Tuesday.

The blaze that ravaged hillsides in the Genoa district of Nervi may have been started accidentally by highway workers, investigative sources said on Tuesday. But the fire in Pegli was almost certainly an act of arson, the sources said.

City council officials said around 100 volunteers were helping to put out the blazes. Strong winds have been hampering the work of Canadair fire-fighting aircraft in Genoa’s Levante district, however, the officials said.

Some 300 people who were forced to flee their homes in Genoa’s Pegli district were due to return home on Tuesday, according to the officials.

“The situation is extremely critical and complex but it is under control for now, said Genoa’s Mayor, Marco Doriallo.

The wildfires have prompted officials to close several schools in the area and have badly disrupted traffic in the Liguria region with tailbacks of up to seven kilometres reported along one stretch of the A10 highway.

The owner of a Genoa pizzeria won praise on Facebook on Tuesday after he gave away free Margherita pizzas and water to motorists stuck in the traffic jams.

–IANS/AKI

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