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ROME (Sputnik) – The regional government of the Italian Island of Sardinia on Sunday declared an emergency over raging fires in the province of Oristano.

On Saturday, the island’s province of Oristano was struck by a heatwave coming from Africa, setting dry grass ablaze, which later caused a larger conflagration. Now, multiple areas of Oristano are engulfed in flames, making residents leave their homes in a hurry. Some 400 people were reported to have been evacuated.

Earlier in the day, the regional president, Christian Solinas, convened an emergency meeting of the island’s executive authority. Mayors of 13 Sardinian cities that were affected by the blaze joined via teleconference.

According to the island’s authorities, the fire has already burned through about 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) of vegetation areas, ruined several residential and service buildings and killed cattle.

In other news –Massive fires are raging on the island of #Sardinia, Italy, destroying maquis, forests, animals, ancient olive trees. Villages have been evacuated and the air smells burnt for miles and miles. Heartbreaking, predictable environmental tragedy. pic.twitter.com/ill08vI30p

— Sara Perria (@Sara_Perria) July 25, 2021

​The blaze is being fought by fire teams along with the forest service, the civil protection service, and volunteers. Overall, some 7,500 people, seven special planes and 13 helicopters are involved in the effort.

Italy: Wildfires rage through Sardinia, forcing evacuations, as round 10,000 acres around the island’s historic Montiferru area have already been destroyed in what officials called “an unprecedented disaster”, it comes after wildfires hit locations including Naples & Mt Vesuvius. pic.twitter.com/uBkPkw9bjy

— @KassMedefer (@KMedefer) July 25, 2021

Meanwhile, Italy’s Civil Protection Department has requested EU assistance in handling the fire in Sardinia.