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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article5 September 2022Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)1 min read

Forest Fires: EU ministers discuss prevention and preparedness for 2023

Canadair plane with in front 2 aid workers
© European Union, 2022

After a devastating summer with thousands of hectares of forest lost in Europe due forest fires, the European Commission is organising a high level meeting to already work on preparedness measures for next year.

Ministers responsible for Civil Protection in the EU member states and participating states of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism will meet today in Brussels for the High-Level Emergency Response Coordination Meeting, in close cooperation with the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU. 

Conclusions of the meeting will be published later today. 

Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: "Even though we are not yet at the end of the summer, it is already clear that this is a record-breaking forest fires season for the EU. Wild forest fires have become a pan-European concern, affecting all of us. While our emergency services are still active in monitoring and containing fires, as political decision-makers we have to look to the future now and take swift and strong political commitments to do more both at national and EU level to enhance the EU’s preparedness for future fire seasons to prevent the worst.”

This year the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated 11 times for wildfires across Europe and thanks to the unprecedented solidarity from Member States, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre coordinated 33 deployments of firefighting planes and 8 deployments of helicopters.

Thanks to the rescEU fleet, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has responded promptly and effectively to most of the requests made this year, providing immediate and effective support whenever capacities were available. In addition, the EU's emergency Copernicus satellite continues to provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas.

This meeting aims to ensure a political discussion on the need to rapidly step-up prevention, preparedness, and response capacities for forest fires, both at national level and within the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.