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26 December 2011

Italy fire: Hundreds evacuated

Rome - Emergency services evacuated more than 250 people from their homes near Savona, northwest Italy on Monday as strong winds fed a four-kilometre wide wildfire, local officials and rescue workers said.

People living in three villages around the Ligurian coastal town of Vado Ligure were evacuated, local mayor Attilio Caviglia told the Sky TG24 news channel.

More than a thousand fire fighters and emergency staff, backed by five water-bombing Canadair aircraft and two helicopters, were mobilised to fight the blaze which broke out early Sunday and quickly destroyed 200 hectares (500 acres) of forest.

Authorities were forced to close part of the A10 motorway leading to the French border.

Smoke from the wildfire blackened homes and destroyed garden sheds but no homes were touched by the flames, Caviglia said. One resident suffered minor burns to his hands.

- SAPA/News24