Italian wildfires claim 3 lives in Sicily as triple-digit temperatures fuel flames

Crews with Italy’s National Fire and Rescue Service are responding to more than 1,600 fires across southern Italy. The Sicilian regional president said three people recently died in the fires.

Wildfires raging in southern Italy fueled by scorching temperatures have claimed the lives of three people in Sicily as firefighters continue to battle fires during a European heat wave

Sicilian regional President Renato Schifani confirmed in a Facebook post the fires had killed three people.

Officials with Vigili del Fuoco, Italy’s National Fire and Rescue Service, said firefighters have responded to more than 1,600 fires in three days between fires burning in Sicily, Calabria and Puglia.

More than 5,400 firefighters are responding to blazes in southern Italy during temperatures in the triple digits. High temperatures are expected to reach up to 113 degrees in Sicily Wednesday. 

Wildfires temporarily closed the Palermo Airport in the capital city of Sicily for a few hours when the flames reached the perimeter of the airport. Firefighters continue to monitor those wildfires.

Video taken by Denise Bishop, who lives in Sicily, shows the "nightmare" of attempting to reach the airport on Sunday.

"We drove through so many fires right up to and across the road that I lost count. This is a bad situation," she wrote on Facebook.

In the province of Lecce, in Italy's "heel," a vegetation fire consumed pine forests and threatened homes. Firefighters used drones with thermal imaging to monitor the fire. 

2 others killed during severe weather in Italy

While fires burned in the south, Italy’s National Fire and Rescue Service has also responded to severe weather in the past two days in northern Italy.

Two people were killed, and a teen was injured during severe thunderstorms on Monday.

Widespread wind and storm damage was reported across Treviso, Verona, Belluno, Vicenza and Padova provinces.