France helping Greece and Sweden tackle forest fires
Fires in Greece and Sweden – French capabilities to combat forest fires in Greece and Sweden – Press communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Interior
Paris, 24 July 2018
Greece and Sweden are currently suffering from very major forest fires which require cooperation and mutual European assistance.
Like all the European Union countries, France was last night called on by Greece to help it tackle fires whose provisional toll is already tragic. Member countries have responded to this request by Greece to the EU for capabilities. Water-bombing aircraft from Spain and Croatia were deployed today, and Bulgaria and Cyprus are also deploying ground-based units to fight forest fires.
As part of regular exchanges with Greece, two French officers specializing in forest fires at Greek civil protection headquarters are providing their expertise and supporting Greek officers.
France also remains mobilized in Sweden, where, amid an exceptional drought, several tens of thousands of hectares have already burned and no improvement in the weather is forecast in the coming week.
On 18 July, France sent two Canadair CL-415 water bombers and a reconnaissance and in-flight operations command plane (Beechcraft B200). Sixteen personnel are involved, including several crews, engineers and a senior investigation and intervention officer. These French Canadairs have already dropped 500 water bombs, i.e. nearly 3,000 tonnes of water.
Since 22 July, a detachment of 60 firefighters and civil security military personnel has been supporting this operation. These experts in fighting forest fires have been engaged on the ground at Karbole since this morning, tasked mainly with setting off tactical backfires, creating firebreaks in areas difficult to access and carrying out air surveillance by drone.
Every country remains mobilized out of European solidarity. Although France is safe for the time being, everyone is reminded of the need to obey instructions given by the authorities and comply with prevention measures./.