Greece: The Fire in the Alexandroupolis is the Largest in the EU since statistics have been keptSoutheast Europe | August 30, 2023, Wednesday // 12:33| views
A forest fire in Greece is the largest recorded in the European Union, said a spokesman for the European Commission, quoted by "Guardian" and "AFP".
Eleven aircraft and a helicopter from the EU fleet have been sent to help fight the fire north of the city of Alexandroupolis along with 407 firefighters, Balazs Ujvari said on Tuesday.
The EU's civil protection agency said the fire had burned more than 810 square kilometers - an area larger than New York City.
"This forest fire is the largest in the EU since 2000, when the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) began recording data," was said in a statement.
The Greek fire service said the fire was "still out of control" in Dadia National Park in the northeastern region.
Since it broke out on August 19, the fire has killed 20 people, 18 of them migrants, whose bodies were found in a region often used as an entry point from neighboring Turkey.
"We know that the fires are getting more severe," Ujvari pointed out. "If you look at the data for each year in recent years, we see trends that are not necessarily favorable, and this requires, of course, more capacity at Member State level."
Janez Lenarcic, the EU's commissioner for crisis management, said the deployment of the air force underscored the bloc's commitment to swift and effective collective action in times of crisis.
In a message from the European Commission from Tuesday, it is clarified that so far more than 81 thousand hectares have burned in the region of Alexandroupolis in Greece.
Since Greece activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism on 20 August for the second time this summer, the EU has provided:
- 11 firefighting aircraft from the rescEU reserve, located in Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden;
- 1 Blackhawk helicopter from the Czech Republic;
- 407 firefighters and 62 specialized vehicles from Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia.
20 satellite maps of the affected areas have also been created. In July, 9 aircraft, 510 firefighters and 117 specialized vehicles were sent to the field to deal with the escalating forest fires.
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