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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article19 July 2023Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)1 min read

Wildfires: EU mobilises air and ground firefighting assistance to Greece

A firefighting plane seen from the front, in the back left another one.
© Dipartimento Protezione Civile, Italy

As tens of wildfires continue to spread across Greece, the EU is deploying 4 Canadair firefighting planes from France and Italy together with 3 firefighting teams from Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

This means a total of 220 firefighters and 65 vehicles. In addition, 3 pre-deployed ground firefighting teams from Romania, Bulgaria and Malta are already operating in Greece as a part of the EU's Civil Protection wildfire season preparedness plan.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: We are experiencing a heatwave across Southern Europe already causing devastating consequences in Greece, with thousands of hectares burned in a short period of time. The EU's fast response is essential in this situation and I thank these 5 countries for their solidarity to Greece. However, it is important to continue to invest in prevention and to enhance the wildfire risk awareness of the population.”

Greece activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism on Tuesday morning, immediately triggering the deployment of 2 Canadairs from Italy and 2 from France from the EU's fleet, which will all start operations today.

Subsequently, Poland, Romania and Slovakia offered each 1 ground forest fire fighting module, including vehicles, which are now also being deployed.

In addition, the EU's Copernicus satellite mapping is also providing damage assessment on several areas in the Attica region. The Commission continues to be in close contact with the Greek authorities via its Emergency Response Coordination Centre and stands ready to mobilise additional assistance if needed.