The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is facilitating the urgent provision of assistance to extinguish the forest fires raging in Sweden. Two fire-fighting aircraft, offered by Italy, are on their way to the affected areas.
Last night Sweden activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to fight the forest fires in the mid-eastern part of the country. The ERCC immediately alerted the civil protection authorities of the countries participating in the Mechanism. By this morning, three countries offered assistance, and the Italian offer was accepted as most suitable for the needs on the ground. No further assistance is needed at this stage.
"I express my sincere gratitude to the Italian authorities for providing swift support to Sweden in this moment of need. Let us hope that our biggest fear of the blaze spreading to urban areas will not materialise," said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "Forest fires are a risk we tend to associate primarily with Southern Europe, but we are seeing that no country is immune. With risk like this increasing, it makes all the more sense for countries to help each other through the European Union. With the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, we help make sure that mutual assistance gets to where it is needed quickly and efficiently," the Commissioner added.
Several regions in Northern Europe are currently facing heat waves which pose forest fire risks. The ERCC is actively monitoring these risks and developments across Europe. It uses national monitoring services and tools such as EFFIS (the European Forest Fire Information System) and satellite imagery to provide an overview of the situation in Europe. Throughout the summer months, it holds a weekly videoconference with national authorities from countries at greatest risk of forest fires.
The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response among 31 European states (EU-28 plus Iceland, Norway and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The participating countries pool the resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries all over the world. When activated, the Mechanism coordinates the provision of assistance inside and outside the European Union. The European Commission manages the Mechanism through the Emergency Response Coordination Centre.