Students fined €27m after BBQ caused vast forest fire
Two students accused of starting a wildfire that damaged a vast area of forest in Italy have been fined an astounding €27 million by the country’s forestry service.
The young men lit a barbecue in a garden near Lake Como on December 30. But sparks from the barbecue allegedly started a fire which quickly spread, eventually burning more than 1,000 hectares of forest, damaging several properties and killing domestic animals, including horses,.
The students said they were "deeply sorry" about the fire caused by their barbecue. "As soon as the fire broke out we called the fire service and we threw ourselves at the flames to try to put them out," the Telegraph cited one of the as saying.
They said they had been made "scapegoats", claiming that the wider forest fire was sparked not by their barbecue but by some other source.
A forensic investigation by the forestry service indicated, however, that the fire started from the barbecue that the students had set up in the garden of Mr Borghi’s grandfather, who may be held legally liable for paying a portion of the fine.
The forestry service calculated the massive penalty by measuring how much land had been burnt and how much it was worth per square metre.