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EU sends firefighting resources to fight forest blazes in Greece, Italy

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Fire-fighting resources from EU nations are on their way to Greece, Italy, Albania and Northern Macedonia to help fight forest blazes, the EU crisis management commissioner said on Wednesday.

“We are working around the clock to send help as fires rage across Europe,” commissioner Janez Lenarcic said in a statement.

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“I thank Cyprus, Czechia, France, Slovenia and the Netherlands for swiftly deploying firefighting airplanes, helicopters and a team of firefighters to support countries heavily affected by forest fires.”

 A man walks in front of a fire at Le Capannine beach in Catania, Sicily, Italy, July 30, 2021, in this photo obtained from social media on July 31, 2021.( Roberto Viglianisi/via Reuters)
A man walks in front of a fire at Le Capannine beach in Catania, Sicily, Italy, July 30, 2021, in this photo obtained from social media on July 31, 2021.( Roberto Viglianisi/via Reuters)

The dispatch of the aircraft and firefighters were being coordinated by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, with the European Commission picking up most of the mobilization cost.

Greek firefighters have been battling several heatwave-fueled forest infernos, including around Athens that have destroyed or damaged dozens of homes and businesses and forced the evacuation of villages, and others in the south and on the island of Euboea.

Devastating fires have also scorched parts of Italy, including in Sicily and near Rome.

Both Greece and Italy are EU member states.

EU help was also being given to non-EU neighbors, in the form of two helicopters sent to Albania and 45 Slovenian firefighters to North Macedonia.

The European Union earlier this week deployed firefighting help to Turkey, which is also struggling with violent summer wildfires that have sent residents and tourists scrambling to safety.

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