In a remarkable show of unity, countries within the European Union are teaming up to battle ferocious wildfires. Let’s explore how these heroes in the sky are using their skills and cutting-edge tools to fight back against the destructive flames.
A significant portion of the rescEU aerial fleet, nearly a third, is comprised of aircraft from Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Sweden. As of Tuesday, a European Commission spokesperson disclosed that they’re leveraging the powerful Copernicus satellite system to provide crucial satellite images to Greek authorities. This technology is helping to accurately map out the areas affected by the wildfires.
With a sense of urgency and collaboration, the European Commission spokesperson emphasized that their engagement in this mission is substantial. Moreover, they stand ready to lend additional support if the Greek authorities require it.
Just two days ago, Greece activated the EU Civil Mechanism as wildfires raged on. This mechanism enables countries to come to each other’s aid when their own emergency services are overwhelmed by unforeseen events like wildfires. Already, Cyprus and Romania have extended their assistance by sending planes, firefighters, and vehicles to Greece.
As wildfire incidents have risen in southern Europe over the years, the EU Civil Mechanism has become an essential lifeline. It showcases the strength of solidarity in times of crisis.
The commitment to boosting firefighting capabilities is evident, as the European Commission announced plans to acquire twelve highly sought-after ‘Canadair’ planes. Interestingly, while these planes will be financed entirely by the EU, they will be stationed in and legally owned by countries like Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain—nations more vulnerable to wildfires.
Even as these nations rally together to battle the blazes, the challenges are profound. Recently, Greek authorities discovered the remains of 18 individuals believed to be migrants in the Dadia forest of northeastern Greece. This forest serves as a passage frequently used by migrants seeking to enter the European Union from Turkey.
This year, Greece endured its most devastating month of wildfires since 2008, witnessing approximately 50,000 hectares, equivalent to around 95,000 football pitches, succumb to flames in just a short span of 12 days. The dedication of these nations to stand united against nature’s fury is truly commendable.