NATO Allies stand together against wildfires

  • 12 Aug. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 12 Aug. 2021 14:09

Albania, Greece, North Macedonia and Turkey have received support from their NATO Allies in dealing with devastating wildfires faced since July. The assistance provided included the delivery of ground and air assets most needed to help contain the spread of the fires.

The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has responded to Greece’s call for assistance and arranged for the deployment of 20 heavy and medium size helicopters with dedicated pilots, crewmembers and mechanics to assist the Hellenic Fire Brigade. NSPA contribution increased the fire extinguishing capacity up to 7 tons of water per drop. Since the beginning of August, the crews have exceeded 1,200 flight hours. The use of two-size categories of helicopters facilitated operations in remote locations, while limiting water refilling requirements and time lapses between successive drops, which are essential to reduce risks of fire spreading. In Turkey, the US European Command has responded to a request for support by providing Chinook helicopters to aid their fight against the fires 

In Kosovo, NATO’s Kosovo Force has helped the local fire brigade in the Rugova mounting area and Prizren surrounding area. Two helicopters from the KFOR Regional Command East, and one from the KFOR Swiss contingent equipped to collect water and discharge it directly onto the flames, provided immediate intervention.

NATO stands in solidarity with those affected and ready to provide further assistance as needed. NATO and Allies have a long record of responding to natural disasters, as they did against Hurricane Irma in 2017, Kosovo forest fires in 2015, Balkan floods in 2010 and Pakistan’s earthquake in 2006.

The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) is NATO’s principal civil emergency response mechanism in the Euro-Atlantic area. It functions as a clearing-house system for coordinating both requests for and offers of international assistance in case of disasters. It is active all year round, operational on a 24/7 basis, and involves all NATO Allies and partner countries.