In response to the request, the EU has mobilized two Canadair firefighting aircraft from its rescEU fleet in Spain, to support the work of Portuguese first responders in affected regions.
The EU’s Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service was also activated by Portugal on 8 July in response to forest fires in the Leiria and Santarem districts of Ourém municipality – that will map the impacted regions to aid the assessment of damage caused by the fires.
“With our quick response to the Portuguese request for assistance, the EU demonstrates its full solidarity in facing the destructive forest fires in central Portugal,” said Janez Lenarčič, the European Commission’s Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič. “I thank Spain for swiftly mobilising two firefighting planes via the RescEU this morning. Our thoughts are with those affected, and with the firefighters and other first responders on the ground. We stand ready to provide further assistance.”
Currently, over 3,000 firefighters are believed to be working to put out wildfires across Portugal, with 125 forest fires recorded by the Portuguese Civil Protection Agency on Saturday 9 July – the highest number of wildfire incidents for a single day this year.
The fires have been brought on by a period of extremely hot, dry weather across Europe, which has seen temperatures reach as high as 40°C in some regions.
The 2022 rescEU firefighting fleet includes 12 fixed-wing aircraft and one helicopter provided by six EU member states. The fleet was deployed to strategic locations across Europe in June, ahead of the current wildfire season.