Speaking to the Greek parliament, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the government had initiated steps to acquire over 100 drones to monitor wildfires in real time, as well as plans to install temperature sensors in high-risk forests and at archaeological sites.
Mitsotakis added that plans were in motion to hire an additional 1,000 firefighters and 500 forest scientists to support future summer firefighting efforts.
The announcement comes in the wake of a summer of intense wildfires – including one centered on the northeastern Evros region, which has burned for over two weeks now and claimed at least 20 lives. The fire is also believed to have burned an area of at least 812.6km2 – larger than New York City.
“Although we were better prepared than any other year, we faced an unprecedented combination of incidents,” Mitsotakis said.
The new announcements build on existing plans by the Greek Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection to acquire an aerial firefighting fleet of 36 aircraft over the next six years.
The country also benefits from participation in the European Union’s (EU) rescEU emergency response mechanism, which has seen a number of aircraft from other EU member states being deployed to Greece this summer.