Forest fires: EU doubles rescEU firefighting fleet for summer 2023
À la suite du discours sur l’état de l’Union prononcé par la présidente von der Leyen en septembre de l’année dernière, Janez LenarčičCommissioner for Crisis Management, announced today, during his speech on the occasion of the 10e anniversary of the Emergency Response Coordination Center, that rescEU’s aerial firefighting fleet would be doubled for this year’s forest fire season.
ResEU firefighting fleet for 2023
- The rescEU firefighting aircraft pool comprises 24 aircraft and 4 helicopters from 10 member states:
- two medium-size water-bombing aircraft from Croatia
- two light aircraft from Cyprus
- two helicopters from the Czech Republic
- two medium-size water-bombing aircraft and a helicopter from France
- two light aircraft from Germany
- two medium-size water-bombers, two light aircraft and a helicopter from Greece
- two medium-size water-bombers and two light aircraft from Italy
- two light aircraft from Portugal
- two medium-size water-bombing aircraft from Spain
- four light aircraft from Sweden
- In addition, Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia will be sending around 450 firefighters to be pre-positioned in France, Greece and Portugal.
Prevention and control measures
À la suite des appels lancés par les ministres de l’UE et le Parlement européen, la Commission a aussi élaboré en 2022 un plan d’action pour la prévention des incendies de forêt. This action plan is based on three objectives: 1) improve administrative capacity; 2) improve knowledge; 3) increase investment in forest fire prevention measures.
As part of the Prevention Action Plan, the EU is today launching a new peer review methodology for forest fire fighting. This new tool helps countries to assess their capacity to prevent and prepare for forest fires, and supports the exchange of best practice between European countries, as part of the Union’s civil protection mechanism.
In addition, a forest fire fighting support team is set up within the emergency response coordination center to enable near-real-time monitoring and analysis of the forest fire situation from mid-June to mid-September.
Forest fire prevention, preparedness and response actions are implemented in concert to save lives and protect livelihoods and the environment. The presence of experienced forest fire experts and well-trained firefighters, as well as the availability of information technology and sufficient response resources, make all the difference.
The EU ensures a coordinated approach to forest fire prevention, preparedness and response when forest fires exceed national response capacities. When the scale of a forest fire exceeds a country’s response capacity, it can request assistance through the Union’s civil protection mechanism. Once activated, the EU Emergency Response Coordination Center coordinates and finances the assistance made available by EU member states and the nine other participating states through spontaneous offers. In addition, the EU has created the European Civil Protection Reserve to provide a critical mass of rapidly available civil protection capabilities for a stronger, more coherent collective response. If an emergency calls for additional rescue assistance, rescEU ‘s fire-fighting reserve steps in to provide extra capacity to cope with disasters in Europe. The emergency response coordination center also monitors the evolution of forest fires with the help of early warning systems such as the European forest fire information system, while the Copernicus The EU’s emergency satellite mapping system complements operations by providing detailed information based on satellite data.