200 firefighters from six EU countries in Greece to help prevent another forest fire disaster
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Greece has learned many lessons from the extreme wildfire season 2021, and one of the initiatives introduced to help prevent a reoccurance of last year´s disastrous fire season is the introduction of the rescEU firefighting fleet.
This year the EU is pre-positioning some heavy duty fire fighting forces to Greece from six member countries, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Norway and Romania. These countries are a part of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) and they are deploying more than 200 firefighters to Greece in total,. They will be stationed there with their equipment for the two most dangerous months of the fire season, July and August.
The European mechanism has announced the rescEU firefighting fleet for the 2022 summer season. Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden are hosting the aerial firefighting fleet and they stand ready to fight ever stronger fires in Europe.
The European mechanism also engage in innovation.
Finally it’s important to mention that the pre-installation program that has started within the framework of the European Civil Protection Mechanism, was a Greek initiative.
The missions will be based in three main regions: Athens, Larissa and Tripoli in order to assist in the fire protection of our country and to exchange know-how, knowledge and experience with Greek firefighters.
Less wind - but higher temperatures and less rain in 2021
Fire season 2021 in Greece was one of the least windy fire seasons in the last 20 years - however the the average temperature was 1.6 ° C higher than normal. The rainfall of the winter and the summer season was much less than normal, and two fierce heat waves with high intensity and and great duration occurred during the season. This led to the relative humidity levels falling below 10% from the beginning of July, which in turn gave us extreme wildfire events. The forest fire season 2021 burned with very high intensity and destroyed more than 101.000 hectares.
During the forest fires in Greece, the European Union mobilized one of the largest ever European deployments of firefighters and aircrafts in history. In total, 24 firefighting aircrafts, 1301 firefighters and 277 vehicles from 22 countries around the world participated in the efforts to
tackle the wildfires in Greece.
The collaboration, the courage, the devotion, and the willingness of all the firefighters from all the involved countries, during the forest fires, taught us that we can learn more when we are working together.
Fire Lieutenant Colonel - Forestry Engineer Msc in Forestry National Coordination Center for Operations and Crisis Management Hellenic Fire Corps