Member states to help fight Greek forest fires

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EU countries are sending fire-fighting aircraft to Greece to battle the raging blazes that have killed more than 60 people.

EU member states have joined forces in the fight against the Greek blazes, with France, Spain and Italy sending water-bombing aircraft and Norway, Germany and the Netherlands providing specialised helicopters, the Commission said on 25 August.

Greece is currently experiencing its worst outbreak of forest fires in decades and has asked its European partners to help fight the fires, which have killed at least 60 people. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has declared a nationwide state of emergency and called to mobilise all means to encounter the disaster.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said that member states have “once again demonstrated their solidarity with a country in a moment of crisis”. “Their quick reaction to Greece’s call for help will undoubtedly contribute to combating these forest fires effectively and hopefully prevent further casualties,” the Commissioner added. 

Dimas reiterated his call for an upgraded EU fire-fighting capacity in order to help fight blazes such as those experienced across southern Europe this summer. Such a permanent European civil protection force could be equipped with fire-fighting aircraft(EURACTIV 01/08/07).

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