The European Commission has responded to Sweden’s request for European Union assistance to battle the unprecedented forest fires. The blazes have swept across hundreds of hectares in the regions of Jamtland, Gavleborg, Dalarna, Norrbotten and Västerbotten.
“The EU stands by the Swedish government and the Swedish people in their time of need,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. “I would like to thank all countries for their quick offers of help through our EU Civil Protection Mechanism. We have helped mobilise many planes, helicopters, vehicles and ground forces to address the massive needs. We are in contact with other countries for possible additional support. This is solidarity in action. This is what our citizens expect in a Europe that protects.”
Brussels mobilised five firefighting planes (two from Italy and three from France) through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism. Additional support has come from EU members Germany (five firefighting helicopters), Lithuania (one helicopter), Poland (44 vehicles and 139 firefighters) and Denmark (12 vehicles and 55 firefighters).
According to a European Commission press release, the EU’s emergency Copernicus satellite is also helping Sweden provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas. And the Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre, which monitors natural disasters 24/7, is in contact with the Swedish civil protection authorities and is closely monitoring developments and any other assistance that could be requested.