Following the devastating forest fires in the South of Europe in 2007, the EU budgetary authority earmarked €3.5 million in the 2008 budget for a Pilot Project to step up cooperation between Member States on combating forest fires.
The aim of the Pilot Project is to improve mobilisation of additional operational resources and emergency support from Member States to assist other Member States in coping with forest fires. These additional operational resources are available for three months during summer 2009 to assist Member States facing major forest fires in situations when other Member States are unable to provide such assistance, for example because of forest fires on their own territory. The additional operational resources are based on the needs of forest fires emergencies in 2007 and 2008 in the EU.
The project takes into account the European Parliament resolutions on natural disasters in the summer of 2007 and on stepping up the Union's disaster response capacity as well as Commission Communication COM(2008)130 on reinforcing the Union's disaster response capacity.
More details on the pilot project and how it functions can be found here.
Result of the call for tender:
EU FFTR (Forest fire tactical reserve) 2009
Ministère de l'Intérieur, Direction de la défense et de la Sécurité civiles, FR
Overview of the EUFFTR project
The EUFFTR pilot project aimed at stepping up cooperation between the Member States on combating forest fires. It consisted of two fire-fighting planes (Canadair CL-215) that were leased from the market and available to fly 150 hours each from 1 July to 30 September 2009. The planes were a supplementary European resource designed to reinforce the overall EU fire-fighting capacity and available to assist EU Member States requesting aerial fire fighting assistance through the Community Civil Protection Mechanism.
The project was coordinated by France and benefited from 80 % Commission financing.
The decision to deploy the EUFFTR was made by the Commission after consultation on the forest fires situation with all the Southern Member States. Following the decision, France (which managed this project) ensured the deployment of the planes.
The EUFFTR planes were stationed in Bastia, Corsica. From there, mainland France and Italy were within a short flight distance; Lisbon in the West, Athens in the South East and Sofia in the East were roughly equidistant.
Thanks to the EUFFTR project, the EU significantly increased in 2009 its contribution to the response to major forest fires. The EUFFTR intervened in six of the total of nine 2009 forest fire emergencies managed by the Monitoring and Information Centre: twice in France-Corsica and Portugal, once in Italy-Sardinia, and once in Greece. In the remaining three activations (Albania, Greece and Portugal) sufficient and timely assistance was provided by the Member States and the EUFFTR was not mobilised.
The final report of the project will be made available on this webpage once available.