Why is this important?
Every year, devastating forest fires take place in Europe and around the world, destroying thousands of hectares of forests. When the scale of fire exceeds the country's capacity to extinguish it on its own, the European Union's Civil Protection Mechanism can be activated to coordinate the response from participating states.
What are we doing?
The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is constantly monitoring the forest fire risk and incidence across Europe using national monitoring services and tools such EFFIS (the European Forest Fire Information System). Over the summer period, the ERCC also organises weekly video conferences with the countries that are at high risk of forest fires and whose national capacities could get overwhelmed.
When forest fires occur and when national capacities to respond are surpassed, EU countries can show solidarity by sending assistance in the form of water bombing aircraft, helicopters, fire-fighting equipment and personnel. To provide for a joint and coordinated response, they frequently channel the assistance and exchange real-time information through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In addition, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism can co-finance the transport of assistance to the affected area.