Firefighters are battling wildfires throughout southern Italy, including along the slopes of the volcano Mount Vesuvius near Naples.

Wildfires have been raging for days, and Italy's civil protection agency on Tuesday said it was responding with helicopters to 18 blazes, including four in Campania, the region which includes Naples, and two each in Sicily and Basilicata.

Authorities say many are believed to be caused by human activity and have urged people to be especially careful, but have not so far said that arson is suspected. Italy has been experiencing a heatwave combined with drought.

Some people have been evacuated as a precaution from near Mount Vesuvius, where the smoke emitted from the blaze some 2 kilometers (a mile) wide deceived some observers who thought the volcano was erupting.