Two Canadair aircraft in action during a fire in Pantelleria, one equipped with red fire-retarding powder

An extensive fire broke out yesterday, May 12, in Pantelleria between the districts of Sciuveki and Racino. The fire started in the afternoon after first signs were noticed in the late morning. Starting from Scauri Basso where shrubs, mowing material, and pruning materials were probably burning, it quickly spread due to strong gusts of wind that fueled it vigorously. The flames quickly invaded the plain and then rose along the hill towards Sciuvechi. Despite the timely intervention of the firefighters and the team of the forestry department, it was immediately clear that the situation was critical due to uncultivated land and the dry Mediterranean scrubland, which proved to be easily conquered by the flames.

The local police station and the forest police isolated the road from Scauri to Bukkuram diverting traffic to other routes. The rescue teams tried to hinder the fire’s spread using fire hydrants, wetting the surrounding areas, considering that the steep and woody slope made it impossible to act directly on the fire. The updrafts of the wind then carried the fire beyond the road along the slope, which could have acted as a firebreak. Faced with the critical situation, the only solution was to request the intervention of the Canadair planes.

Present on the scene were the Environment assessor Adriano Minardi and the director of the National Park, Sonia Anelli, in close contact with the commander Luca Ferlito, commissioner of the forest guard, and Italo Cucci, commissioner of the National Park, who returned from Catania right in the middle of the rescue actions.

Thanks to the figure of the director of extinguishing operations, present on the island since early May, it was possible to quickly obtain the intervention of two Canadair planes, which arrived from Lamezia Terme around 5 pm and worked continuously for almost two hours making 24 drops, one of them with red flame-retardant powder, until the fire was extinguished.

Incendio a Pantelleria, in azione due Canadair: uno dotato di polvere ignifuga ritardante di colore rosso

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