To assist Sweden in combating the unprecedented forest fires, over 360 fire-fighting personnel, 7 planes, 6 helicopters and 67 vehicles were mobilised through the European Civil Protection Mechanism in the past three weeks.

According to the European Commission, this is the largest European Civil Protection operation for forest fires in the last decade and the single biggest operation on forest fires in terms of deployment of staff. The operation included 815 flying hours and 8,822 drops of water.

“Once again, member states showed tangible European solidarity through the Civil Protection Mechanism,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, who is visiting Sweden.

“The devastating forest fires in Sweden have highlighted once again the impact of climate change and that we are facing a new reality,” he added. “Now is the time to collectively learn from these tragedies, and strive to strengthen Europe’s Civil Protection Mechanism, so that we are collectively better prepared and stronger in responding to multiple disasters across the continent.”

The Commission coordinates the voluntary offers made by participating states through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and can co-finance the transport of relief items and experts to the country in question.

Overall, the Mechanism facilitates the cooperation in disaster response among 34 European states (28 EU members, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Norway, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey).