First group of rescue workers leave for Portugal to fight wildfires
Finland is deploying the first group of 24 rescue workers on Wednesday 16 August to help Portugal manage wildfires.
In all, Finland will send 48 rescue workers to Portugal. The second group will leave at the beginning of September. Both of these Finn Rescue Team groups specialised in extinguishing wildfires will be deployed in Portugal for about two weeks.
Portugal requested assistance in the management of wildfires through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The deployment of rescue workers from several EU countries was agreed in advance before the wildfire season. Rescue workers will assist and support local authorities in extinguishing wildfires. In addition to Portugal, the EU will this year send rescue workers to Greece and France.
In summer 2023, wildfires have again plagued southern Europe. Based on the previous years’ experiences, this year Finland chose to send assistance to Portugal. There have been major fires in Portugal this summer, and forecasts indicate that these will continue in the next few weeks.
Deployments are part of EU-level preparedness
The Ministry of the Interior decides on Finland’s provision of international assistance in the field of rescue services, that is civil protection. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is one of the key instruments of providing international assistance. Countries activating the mechanism request help from other countries to cope with accidents and incidents.
“Deployments are part of EU-level preparedness to respond to extreme weather events, and to wildfires in particular. Finland has decided to actively support other countries. We will also learn valuable lessons from putting out wildfires in challenging conditions. We can then make use of these experiences when preparing for extreme weather events caused by climate change in Finland,” says Senior Officer for Rescue Services Pekka Tiainen.
Pelastusopisto - Emergency Services Academy Finland is in charge of the recruitment, training and logistics of posted workers. The workers are employed by the Academy.
“Posted workers have been trained by the Academy and the rescue departments that form the module for ground forest firefighting (North Savo, North Karelia, South Savo, South Karelia and Kymenlaakso). Our training focuses on working in the international environment, and the rescue departments’ training focuses on extinguishing fires,” says Matti Inkeroinen, Coordinator of International Rescue Operations at the Academy.
Pekka Tiainen, Senior Officer for Rescue Services, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 50 456 4477, fir[email protected] (international civil protection missions)
Matti Inkeroinen, Coordinator of International Rescue Operations, Pelastusopisto - Emergency Services Academy Finland, tel. +358 29 545 3547 [email protected]