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556 firefighters from 12 countries to aid Greece & other EU Members in the fire season

A total of 556 firefighters from 12 countries will be strategically pre-positioned across key locations in Europe this summer, such as France, Greece, Portugal, and Spain, ready to help local fire brigades.

As Europe is preparing for the approaching wildfire season, the EU is taking significant steps to bolster firefighting efforts and safeguard communities, by pre-positioning firefighters and assembling a fleet of firefighting aircraft, the European Commission said in a statement..

This proactive measure enhances Europe’s readiness to combat wildfires and mitigate their devastating impact on lives, homes, and the environment, and underscores the robustness of EU solidarity in addressing such crises.

The EU has also assembled a dedicated rescEU fleet of firefighting aircraft for this summer, consisting of 28 airplanes and 4 helicopters stationed in 10 Member States. More specifically the fleet will include:

Four medium amphibious airplanes, two light planes and one helicopter from Greece
Two medium amphibious airplanes from Croatia
Two medium amphibious airplanes and two light planes from Italy
Two medium amphibious airplanes from Spain
Four medium amphibious airplanes and one helicopter from France
Four light planes from Sweden
Two light planes from Portugal
Two helicopters from Czechia
Two light planes from Cyprus
Two light planes from Germany

The Commission has also allocated a total of 600 million euros to facilitate the acquisition of 12 new firefighting planes in the future, which will be distributed among six EU member states. In addition, several helicopters will also be financed in the future by the EU to reinforce the EU aerial firefighting fleet.

The prepositioning of firefighters and the acquisition of additional firefighting aircraft underscore the EU’s commitment to bolstering its capacity to respond effectively to wildfires, particularly during the upcoming summer months.

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