The European Commission Emergency Response Centre (ERC) is facilitating the urgent provision of assistance to fight the growing forest fires in Bosnia and Herzegovina, announced the EU Delegation to BIH.
Two fire-fighting jets, offered by Croatia, are already deployed in the affected area thanks to a quick coordination operation done by the ERC.
“Yet again, European cooperation in civil protection is proving its practical value. Croatia, our newest Member State, is showing exemplary solidarity with its neighbor,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
“We must remain vigilant – the forest fires season is in its midst and the risks are high in most of Southern Europe. The Emergency Response Centre is in regular contact with the countries in the highest risk. We are ready to help if other fires overwhelm the national capacities,” the Commissioner added.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has suffered large-scale forest fires since early August. The situation is most critical in the area of the municipality of Jablanica, west of Sarajevo, where the fires are out of control. The state of natural disaster caused by wildfires was declared for this municipality.
The national authorities have already deployed significant fire-fighting capacities, including military forces. However, given the high temperatures, the weather forecast for the coming days predicting more heat and wind, and the difficult access to the affected area, Bosnia and Herzegovina has asked for European support to extinguish the fires by aerial means. Upon receiving the request, the ERC has communicated it to all countries participating in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Croatia has made the water-bombing airplanes available to help its neighbour.
The ERC is actively monitoring the forest fire risks and evolution across Europe. It organises regular information exchange with the affected and uses national monitoring services and tools such as EFFIS (the European Forest Fire Information System), maps and satellite images to provide an overview of the situation in Europe.