EU mobilises 360 volunteers to fight forest fires in Sweden

EU mobilises 360 volunteers to fight forest fires in Sweden

The European Commission has mobilised more than 360 fire-fighters through its European Civil Protection Mechanism, to fight forest fires in Sweden.

Through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU co-ordinates voluntary efforts in member states and can co-finance the transport of experts and relief items to areas affected by disasters or otherwise in need of emergency response. The co-ordinated response to fight forest fires in Sweden was the biggest the EU has ever undertaken.

In all, some 360 fire-fighting personnel participated in the operation, while the EU was also able to mobilise 67 land vehicles, 7 planes and 6 helicopters to combat the unprecedented fires which have raged in Sweden since July. Ultimately, the effort to tackle the blazes included 815 flying hours, and 8,822 drops of water.

What assistance did the EU contribute to the fire-fighting effort?

The EU co-ordinated volunteers from seven member states, including:

  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Poland, and
  • Portugal.

In addition, the bloc provided €1.15m to fund transportation costs, to allow for the mobilisation of help from as many member states as possible. Meanwhile the EU’s Copernicus programme generated 37 satellite maps of the area, to aid fire-fighters.

What did the Commission say about the plan?

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Christos Stylianides, travelled to the region to meet the fire-fighters and survey the affected area. He stated that the EU’s ability to mobilise volunteers from across all member states to respond to natural disasters is a testament to the communal spirit felt by European countries.

Stylianides said: “Member States showed tangible European solidarity through the Civil Protection Mechanism. The devastating forest fires in Sweden have highlighted once again the impact of climate change and that we are facing a new reality. I deeply thank all Member States for their assistance and solidarity. Now is the time to collectively learn from these tragedies… so that we are collectively better prepared and stronger in responding to multiple disasters across the continent.”

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