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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Nieuwsartikel27 juli 2022Directoraat-generaal Europese Civiele Bescherming en Humanitaire Hulp (ECHO)

EU sends assistance to combat fires at the Czech-German border

Plane dropping water on top of a wildfire
© European Union, 2022

The EU has swiftly mobilised 2 firefighting airplanes and 2 helicopters to Czechia where a large forest fire is burning in the north of the country.

Following yesterday’s request for assistance, Poland and Slovakia are each operating 1 helicopter in the country. The EU has sent 2 firefighting planes from Italy to Czechia that form part of its rescEU firefighting fleet and are already operating today.

On this occasion, European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: "We are facing very intense wildfires this summer – active across the Mediterranean and in the very centre of our continent. To combat fires ravaging in a national park in Czechia’s north bordering Germany, our Union stands in full solidarity to face the destructive fires. Assistance from Poland and Slovakia has already arrived, and so have the EU’s two firefighting planes from Italy that form part of the rescEU fleet. I thank everyone involved in ensuring such swift mobilisation of support.”

The EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre stands in close contact with both Czech and German authorities to support the coordination of firefighting operations in the area, and has deployed a Liaison Officer to Prague to support with incoming EU assistance.

In addition, the EU’s Copernicus satellite has been activated by Germany to collect data vital to first responders on the areas burned. 

Background

The EU ensures a coordinated approach to preventing, preparing and responding to forest fires. When the scale of a forest fire overwhelms the response capabilities of a country, it can request assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Once activated, the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre coordinates and finances assistance made available by EU Member States and 6 additional participating states.

Should the emergency require further assistance, the Commission activates its rescEU firefighting fleet to confront disasters in Europe. The EU's Copernicus emergency satellite mapping service complements operations with detailed information from space. 

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