Three helicopters provided by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism arrived on Friday in Albania to assist local troops in their fight against the wave of wildfires that have swept the country in the past 10 days.
Alexis Hupion of the EU Delegation to Albania welcomed the crews from the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, noting that the helicopters would double Albania’s firefighting air capacity. The helicopters started operations today.
The Netherlands has sent two Chinook helicopters that can navigate harsh terrains and release up to 10 thousand liters of water.
Some 163 fires have ravaged Albania in the past two weeks, with 10 fires still active, concentrated mainly in the north.
The situation is still dangerous in the northern city of Kukes and in the Karaburun peninsula in the south. Interventions in Karaburun have managed to isolate the fire and stop its spread into Llogara National Park.
Scientists have stated that July was the worst wildfire season on record globally. Extreme temperatures and prolonged drought have seen fires spout more than 343 megatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. This is a fifth higher than the previous global peak for July which was in 2014.