Czech firefighters to help in new Greek blazes

Wildfires have devastated parts of Greece once again, leading the country to appeal to the global community for help.


Written by ČTK Published on 22.08.2023 10:31:00 (updated on 22.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A contingent of Czech firefighters is poised to lend crucial assistance in combating the ongoing fires that have recently hit Greece, according to the Czech Interior Ministry.

The ground team is scheduled to embark on its mission shortly after noon today. Subsequently, an aerial firefighting unit, comprising a Black Hawk helicopter, will take flight towards Tatoi Airport, situated north of Athens.

Over 60 firefighters helping

The emergency response group, encompassing 64 personnel and 33 pieces of specialized equipment, is anticipated to reach its Greek destination by Wednesday evening. While the exact operational zone remains to be determined, Martina Götzová, the spokesperson for the fire department, communicated that details will be finalized today.

Greece has been grappling with an onslaught of wildfires throughout the summer, with a recent outbreak occurring in the Boiotia region, west of Athens, on Sunday. In response, the Greek authorities appealed for external assistance on Monday afternoon, prompting the collaborative effort of Czech firefighters.

The groundwork for this joint effort was laid out in the latter part of July, when the Czech firefighting division was placed on high alert due to the escalating fire crisis in Greece. 

Photo via The General Directorate of Fire Rescue Service of CR
Photo via The General Directorate of Fire Rescue Service of CR

Other divisions also assisting

The Prague Medical Rescue Service is also assisting in Greece, with the Fénix vehicle, entrusted to offer essential medical support to the firefighters on the frontlines. The operational sequence for today involves the convergence of equipment from various regions at Podivín this afternoon.

Following this assembly, the detachments will be finalized, orders will be disseminated, and the collective team will embark on its shared mission. Notably, the Black Hawk Helicopter Aerial Fire Squad boasts a composition of nine firefighters, complementing the six-member aircrew.

Amidst the multifaceted efforts to suppress the blazes, the solidarity between Czech and Greek firefighting units underscores the international cooperation necessary to combat the escalating wildfire crisis. Greece has been struggling since June to contain fierce fires impacting central and southern regions such as Rhodes, according to Reuters.

While progress has been made in areas like the northeastern port city of Alexandroupoli, challenges persist, as witnessed in the recurrent fires on Euboea Island and the Dadia Nature Park in northeastern Greece, underscoring the need for collective action.

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