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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article10 January 2023Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)1 min read

Wildfires: EU civil protection preparation for 2023 kicks off in Lisbon

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, and the Portuguese Minister of Home Affairs, José Luís Carneiro.
© European Union, 2023

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, is today joining the Portuguese Minister of Home Affairs, José Luís Carneiro, for the opening session of the European Civil Protection Mechanism workshop on ‘Lessons identified from the 2022 wildfire season’.

“Every wildfire season brings with it new lessons, new discoveries, and new opportunities to strengthen our common work. The 2022 season broke many records across Europe, showing us 3 lessons we should draw from: we need to step up wildfire prevention, improve our preparedness and boost our response capacities across Europe. We know more wildfires are expected this summer and the EU is taking concrete measures to boost our capacities ahead of this year's season. Right now, we are building out our existing reserve of firefighting planes. As President von der Leyen confirmed in September, the EU will double its firefighting capacity before the 2023 wildfire season. We will get an additional 10 light amphibious aircraft and 3 helicopters to add to this fleet”, said Commissioner Lenarčič.

The 2022 fire season brought the highest number of fires since 2006. These fires resulted in a very large burnt area across Europe including countries that traditionally do not face such challenges, such as Czechia, Germany and Slovenia.

In total, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated 11 times, mobilising 33 planes, 8 helicopters, around 350 firefighters and other types of support for wildfires.

During his visit to Portugal, Commissioner Lenarčič also discussed humanitarian issues with the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho; the Secretary of State for Cooperation, Francisco André; and the Vice-President of Instituto Camões, Cristina Moniz.