Greece: EU coordinates its largest aerial firefighting operation

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Since the Greece activated the civil protection mechanism of the’European Union (EU) – for the second time this summer – on 20 August the EU deployed 11 firefighting aircraft from the rescEU reserve, from Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden, a Blackhawk helicopter from Czechia, as well as 407 firefighters and 62 vehicles from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia , France, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.

To date, more than 81,000 hectares have burned in the Alexandroupolis region of Greece. The fire is the biggest in the EU since 2000, when the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) started recording data. In addition, the EU’s Copernicus satellite mapping system generated 20 maps showing the affected areas.

This aid follows that already provided by the EU in July in response to Greece’s first request to activate the Civil Protection Mechanism. 9 planes, 510 firefighters and 117 vehicles were then deployed to deal with the forest fires.

We stand in solidarity with Greece in the fight against these devastating fires. Our commitment to rapid and effective collective action is reflected in the largest aerial firefighting operation ever coordinated by the EU. Our thoughts are with the Greek people and we will continue to work tirelessly to protect life, property and the environment. EU unity and cooperation are our main strengths in tackling these challenges said Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management.

John Walker Avatar