‘There will be more wildfires’: Inside the Italian emergency response room where concerns over heatwaves are rising | World News


The situation room inside Italy’s civil protection authority is humming with activity as the head of the emergency department, Carlo Constantini, circulates the space.

From here they coordinate the response to national emergencies and send resources to help local medical and fire teams when needed.

His main concern is wildfire.

‘Severe heat storm’ approaching Europe – weather latest

As the second heat wave, named Charon, takes hold, temperatures could get to nearly 50C in Sicily and Sardinia.

Carlo Constantini, the head of the emergency department at Italy's civil protection authority. For Hannah Thomas-Peter VT.
Carlo Constantini, the head of the emergency department at Italy’s civil protection authority

And as the heat builds, the vegetation gets drier, creating perfect conditions for the kind of fires we have seen in La Palma in Spain and in parts of Greece.

He says: “I am worried about what could happen in the coming days because if this heatwave lasts for a long time it could negatively affect us, there will be more and more wildfires.”

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Footage released by the Spanish Civil Guard shows fire engulfing a forested area on a hillside.

Climate change is making his job harder, he says, remarking that Italy is used to high temperatures in the summer but that it is getting hotter and hotter.

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“Climate change is a complicated issue, we see that year after year the crisis evolves and gets worse.

“In the near future, the situation could become complex.

Carlo Constantini, the head of the emergency department at Italy's civil protection authority.
From the control room, Mr Constantini’s team coordinates the response to national emergencies

“We clearly see climate change effects …in the next few years we could find ourselves in even more difficulties.”

As we leave, Italy’s health ministry issues an alert saying “citizens must follow the rules to protect themselves from the heatwave.”

This includes staying indoors during the hottest part of the day, drinking at least 1.5 litres of water per day, shutting windows and curtains and avoiding rich foods, caffeine and alcohol.

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