In a major fire in the Italian capital Rome, the emergency services evacuated children from two sports centers.

The fire broke out in a park in the north-west of the city, a few kilometers from the Vatican, the fire brigade announced on Monday evening.

A helicopter supports the units on the ground in the extinguishing work.

In the center of the city, ash partly rained from the sky and a high column of smoke could be seen.

There were initially no reports of injuries.

As several media reported, the emergency services also evacuated some residential buildings.

Exactly one week ago, a fire in several caravans also triggered a large-scale fire brigade operation in western Rome.

Several people had to be evacuated from their homes.

A few dozen were examined on site by rescue workers.

Rome and large parts of Italy have been experiencing a period of drought and extreme heat for weeks.

Drought and strong winds therefore keep fanning forest and bush fires.

On the popular holiday island of Sicily, the highest forest fire warning level applies in many provinces, for example around Palermo and Messina.

On Monday evening, civil defense reported five requests for support from firefighting aircraft from Sicily and Lazio, which surrounds the capital Rome.

Further requests came from southern Italy's Calabria, Apulia and Venetia.

Officials said five fires had been brought under control.