Watch: Wildfire shuts Italian airport as flames spread close to planes
An Italian airport that is a popular landing destination for British tourists looking to start their Mediterranean holidays was forced to close in the early hours of Tuesday morning after wildfires spread close to aircraft.
Palermo Airport on the island of Sicily was shut down overnight after flames swept towards the perimeter.
The airport at the popular tourist destination was closed on Tuesday morning as temperatures on the island soared to 47C but has since reopened.
Italy has been severely impacted by the heatwave across southern Europe, and 16 of its cities are on red alert, including Palermo and Catania on Sicily.
There have been a number of power cuts and water supply issues on the island in recent days, which local officials have blamed partly on the heatwave.
Firefighters tackled the blaze close to the airport and local rail and road traffic was also disrupted.
The island's main airport of Catania was closed last week due to a fire in a terminal building and has reopened only for a few flights.
The blaze at Palermo Airport follows huge wildfires on the Greek island of Rhodes this week.
Eight flights were cancelled and the airport was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday at 11am local time, as firefighters worked against the blaze.
Italy's Ansa news agency said 120 families were evacuated from their homes near the seaside resort of Mondello on the island.
There have been fires elsewhere on Sicily, near the city of Messina, and in the San Martino delle Scale area near Palermo, where Ansa said an 88-year-old woman had died in the fires.
About 19,000 people have been evacuated from the Greek island because of wildfires - with many forced to sleep at the airport - and a further 2,500 on Corfu.
There were an estimated 10,000 British tourists on Rhodes before evacuations began, where temperatures have hovered above the 35C mark.
On Monday, an easyJet pilot warned passengers to get off a plane from London Gatwick bound for Rhodes seconds before take-off.
The pilot said over the tannoy: “Travelling to Rhodes for a holiday at the moment is a terrible idea."
While some British airlines and tour operators have cancelled flights in and out of Rhodes, others, such as easyJet and Ryanair, are operating as normal.
The pilot's warning came despite the UK government and Greek officials saying Rhodes and Corfu are safe and remain open for business to tourists.
Watch: Rhodes residents fight wildfires with towels and branches