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EU Civil Protection Mechanism supports Portugal to fight forest fires

A firemen damps down a burned area after a fire in Meia Serra, on Madeira Island, on July 21, 2012 (c) Belga/AFP Photo/ Miguel Riopa
03/09/2012  - 

The European Commission is supporting the efforts to tackle the serious forest fires in Portugal. The authorities in Lisbon requested assistance and Spain made an offer for two Canadair fire-fighting aeroplanes through the European Union's Civil Protection Mechanism. The Commission has also agreed to the immediate deployment of two EU-funded fire-fighting aircraft from France.

Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva stressed the importance of European solidarity in such situations. "When local resources are stretched because of the scale of the fires, it is reassuring to know that others are standing by to help. Through practical and effective European cooperation, we can limit damage and human suffering when forest fires erupt".

Portugal faces the risk of forest fires every summer, but the current situation is particularly severe following a long dry spell with little rainfall and winds fanning the flames. The risk of forest fires remains high across most of the country.

The European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre is closely following this situation and is in regular contact with the authorities in Lisbon. The Centre is also keeping the other countries which participate in the European Civil Protection Mechanism informed of developments.