Bushfire in northern Rome

Firefighters brought under control a bushfire that raged in northern Rome on the evening of 30 July. The fire broke out in the hill-top Monte Ciocci park in the area of Piazzale Ammiraglio Bergamini, located between the Trionfale and Monte Mario districts.

Four firefighting teams battled the blaze, including a helicopter unit which doused the flames from above. However some local residents claim that it took the firefighters half an hour to arrive on the scene.

Witnesses have reported seeing three youths setting off fireworks in the park prior to the fire breaking out.

Strong winds spread the blaze over a 500-m area, and the high flames led to hundreds of residents fleeing their homes on nearby Via degli Ammiragli and Via Simone Simoni. It also caused ash to fall over northern Rome, and a thick black cloud of smoke could be seen from the city centre where there was a strong smell of burning.

Locals are quoted as saying that the city had failed to maintain the green area where the fire started. This charge was denied by city councillor Federico Guidi who said that an ongoing upgrading programme was scheduled for completion in early 2013, notwithstanding damage caused by the fire.