Major Italian island evacuated as culprit of ‘vog’ discovery is identified

Residents of a major Italian island have been evacuated as the local government works to contain a massive, industry-driven orange-yellow cloud of carbon dioxide.

Watched by paramedics, the evacuees from Vulcano packed up in hundreds of cars early Thursday. They had to take only what they could carry and were asked to stay indoors. In August, a similar exercise involving more than 1,000 people was necessary to determine which buildings had the safest zones.

The phenomenon of “vog” (violet) can cause temporary blindness, but it also produces part of the methane and carbon dioxide produced by burning wood and stone. Vog is said to be a result of the forest producing oxygen when it dies or burns and exhales carbon dioxide.

The same phenomenon, in which sulfur dioxide is also found, has closed Rome’s airports twice this year, and contributed to health problems in nearby northwest Croatia.

This week in Camaglia, a village in the mountains of Northern Italy, residents complained of breathing problems.

It’s unclear what caused the rise in levels of carbon dioxide in Vulcano and Camaglia.

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