the European Union has doubled the capacities of its aircraft fleet in anticipation of an “intense” summer

In 2022, with “the hottest summer ever recorded in Europe”, fires had caused a lot of damage, particularly in France.

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A Canadair in action in Varese, Italy, on October 28, 2017. (DELTA IMAGES / AFP)

It’s about being ready to face the summer period and its forest fires. The European Union has doubled the capacities of its firefighting fleet, with 28 devices in total, for the coming summer “intense” after significant devastation in 2022, announced on Monday May 29, the Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic.

“This year is already much drier than average. And this drought, combined with the heat we expect, is of course a major driver of wildfires”worried the Slovenian commissioner during an interview with the European Newsroom, bringing together European press agencies.

Details of the European fleet

After a summer of 2022 “the hottest recorded in Europe”Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced in September a doubling of the European fleet of water-bombing planes and helicopters.

The EU reserve thus increases from 13 devices to 28, positioned in 10 Member States (Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden). They are ready to be deployed from June to October in the event of an emergency, to bring aid to a country whose means are overstretched. The EU finances the provision of these means by the national authorities. These are 10 Canadairs, 14 light amphibious aircraft and four helicopters. “We have approximately doubled the number of devices and the capacity in terms of the volume of water that can be transported”said the commissioner.

In addition, more than 400 firefighters are prepositioned in Greece, France and Portugal, the official added.

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