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Europe helping Greece fight wildfires

The first of more than 200 firefighters from six European countries that will help their Greek colleagues in fighting wildfires arrived in Athens on Friday.

The 28 Romanian firefighters were welcomed on Saturday by Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides and the leadership of Greece’s Fire Service.

“Romania is happy to join the pre-positioning program with a specialized firefighting force,” said Romanian team leader Colonel Alexandru-Adrian Csilik. “We have previous experience here in Greece,” he added.

The Romanians, along with other countries, including Russia and Turkey, helped Greece fight widespread wildfires in August 2021, which broke across the country and devastated the northern part of the island of Evia, Greece’s second largest, as well as the southern Peloponnese peninsula.

This year, the EU has set up a “pre-positioning pilot project” designed to lead to a permanent Europe-wide cooperation scheme.

The Romanian firefighters, who brought five fire engines along, will operate in the Attica region, which includes the capital Athens, until July 31. Those who arrived on Friday will be relieved by an equal number of Romanian firefighters on July 15. Their place will be taken in August by a 25-strong French contingent.

A team of 16 Bulgarian firefighters, with four fire engines, also arrived on Friday in central Greece, where they will operate throughout July. On July 15, meanwhile, 16 German firefighters will arrive in the Peloponnese; they will be replaced in early August by 14 Norwegian and 24 Finnish firefighters.

Source: AP