EU deploys 200 firefighters to Greece in case of wildfires

BRUSSELS (AP) — More than 200 firefighters and technical equipment provided by European Union countries will be soon deployed to Greece to allow for a swift response to large wildfires.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said Thursday that Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Romania and Norway will take part in the initiative coordinated by the bloc’s Civil Protection Mechanism.

Hundreds of massive blazes burned across Greece for days last summer.

“It is clear that we are facing a global weather change, and that requires us Europeans to respond jointly,” Janez Lenarcic, the commissioner for crisis management, said. “In August 2021, Greece witnessed about 65 simultaneous forest fires per day with average temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius.” (104 degrees Farhenheit.)

Last year’s wildfires stretched Greece’s firefighting capabilities to the limit, leading the Mediterranean nation’s government to appeal for international help. About 24 European and Middle Eastern countries responded, sending planes, helicopters, vehicles and hundreds of firefighters.

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