Pāriet uz galveno saturu
European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Helping Greece tackle the largest wildfires of the century in Europe

As high temperatures persistently affect numerous countries across Europe, wildfires continue to pose significant threats to Mediterranean countries.

On 20 August, Greece activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for the second time this summer, as new fires emerged in the north-eastern region.

Thus far, over 76,000 hectares have been burnt in Greece's Alexandroupolis region—an area nearly equivalent in size to New York City.

This wildfire marks the largest in the EU since 2000, when the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) began recording data.

In response, the EU launched its biggest rescEU aerial firefighting operation to date. Over the last few days, the EU has deployed 11 airplanes, 1 helicopter, more than 356 first responders and 54 vehicles to help the country.

In photos, see this example of EU solidarity with Greece in their fight against the raging wildfires.

Man in front of a firefighting plane.
The Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) has deployed 11 firefighting planes and 1 helicopter from the rescEU reserve.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Claire Kowalewksi)
Helicopter dropping air over a fire in a forest.
6 Member States and participating countries in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (Cyprus, Czechia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia) have contributed 6 ground firefighting teams.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Vasileios Pristouris)
3 firefighters on a hill.
More than 356 first responders and 54 vehicles have either arrived or are en route to the affected regions, including a pre-deployed team from France that was already in the country.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Paloma Adarve)
Person adding a sticker of a european flag onto a fireftighting plane.
This is the largest rescEU aerial firefighting operation since its creation in 2019.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Paloma Adarve)
A Czech team in front of their Blackhawk helicopter.
A Czech team in front of their Blackhawk helicopter, which has been mobilised to Greece via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Vasileios Pristouris)
Firefighter, seen from the back, standing on a hill.
Firefighting teams are working day and night together with their Greek colleagues to put out the raging wildfires affecting different areas of Greece.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Vasileios Pristouris)
Person looking at a huge smoke cloud at the border of a forest.
This wildfire is the largest blaze in the European Union since 2000, when the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) started recording data.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Vasileios Pristouris)
Firefighters and firefighter trucks at the border of a forest.
This operation follows the EU’s reaction to Greece's previous activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in July. Back then, the EU deployed 9 planes, 510 firefighters, and 117 vehicles to tackle the escalating wildfires.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Vasileios Pristouris)
Photo of Jaime Camacho Garcia

Story by Jaime Camacho García, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

Publication date: 28/08/2023