Islanders count the cost after a devastating fire off the coast of Sicily

Islanders and volunteers rallied again last night to try to contain a blaze that tore through the volcanic island of Stromboli off the coast of Sicily, causing what eyewitnesses described as “incalculable” damage.

Marco Giorgianni, the mayor of the nearby town of Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, said on Friday he wanted to see the state of natural disaster declared over the fire which lasted for several days.

Dozens of acres have been razed in the past 48 hours and many of the island’s less than 1,000 residents have reported damage to their homes.

The fire was brought under control last night with the support of firefighters and volunteers sent by ferry from Lipari in the middle of the night. The carabinieri were also dispatched to the scene to keep residents and tourists away from danger.

The extent of the damage is being assessed, but Giorgianni said it is likely to be “huge”. The local authority is also trying to determine who, if anyone, was responsible for the fire.

The fire started Wednesday morning and quickly spread due to the wind. Villas were evacuated on the first night, as well as a restaurant on the hillside in which around thirty tourists were dining.

On the first night, a helicopter spraying water along the mountain ridge was forced to return to base due to darkness. An official from Sicily‘s civil protection department was on site Friday to assess the response to the crisis.

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