Rome homes evacuated over wildfires

Police arrest man on suspicion of causing Castel Fusano blaze.

A 22-year-old man faces charges of arson following a vast wildfire which broke out in the Castel Fusano area of Rome's Ostia coastal district on 17 July. 

The man, a plumber from northern Italy, was apprehended while attempting to hide from police who witnessed him setting fire to papers in the pine forest. 

Firefighters are still working to extinguish the blaze which led to the evacuation of local residents as well as road closures, some of which remain in place on 18 July. 

In addition to 20 firefighting teams, a Canadair water plane and five helicopters battled the fire which appears to have broken out in several different sections of the forest, according to police.

Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi, who visited the scene on the evening of 18 July, described the fire as an "environmental disaster." The Castel Fusano blaze came the day after the president of Lazio region Nicola Zingaretti called on the Italian government to declare a state of emergency over the ongoing spate of wildfires in the region.