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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article22 August 2023Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)1 min read

Wildfires: 5 rescEU airplanes on the way to Greece

Firefighters on the ground trying to put out a fire.
© Romanian Civil Protection

As new devastating wildfires burn in different areas of Greece, the EU is swiftly mobilising additional firefighting resources to aid the ongoing efforts of Greek firefighters.

The resources on their way to Greece today are:

  • 5 rescEU firefighting airplanes stationed in Croatia, Germany and Sweden
  • 1 Blackhawk helicopter, 58 firefighters and 9 water tanks from Czechia

This assistance comes in addition to the aerial and ground means from Cyprus and Romania that arrived in Greece yesterday.

Over the last 2 days, the EU has deployed 7 airplanes, 1 helicopter, 114 firefighters and 19 vehicles to assist Greek firefighters, volunteers and police in fighting the massive wildfires.

In addition, the EU’s Copernicus satellite mapping programme has already produced 2 maps of the affected areas and 2 Liaison Officers from the EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre are also on their way to Greece.

Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: "Greece is witnessing an unprecedented scale of wildfire devastation this summer and in such trying times the EU's swift assistance is vital. Today, we can see the real-life significance of having doubled our rescEU aerial firefighting fleet for this wildfire season. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to Croatia, Czechia, Germany and Sweden for their support in aiding the Greek firefighters already valiantly battling the flames. The EU maintains its commitment to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Greece in the face of these devastating wildfires."

This collaborative effort follows the EU's prompt reaction to Greece's earlier activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Last month, a coordinated deployment involving 9 planes, 510 firefighters, and 117 vehicles was launched to tackle the escalating wildfires.