Berlin – The EU Commission announced Saturday that it will provide additional assistance to Sweden, as the country continues to fight dozens of uncontrolled fires over an area spanning hundreds of hectares.
“The Commission has been working 24/7 since Sweden requested EU assistance to battle the unprecedented forest fires,” the body said in a statement.
In addition to aircraft provided by Italy and France, additional support would now be offered by Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Denmark through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Unprecedented forest fires
“The EU stands by the Swedish government and the Swedish people in their time of need,” said the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.
“This is solidarity in action. This is what our citizens expect in a Europe that protects,” he added.
The Swedish emergency services, SOS Alarm, reported on Saturday that the number of fires had been cut to 44 by 9 am (0700 GMT) on Saturday morning, down from 80 on Friday night.
On Friday, the country’s head of civil defence, Dan Eliasson, described the blazes as one of the most difficult situations the Swedish rescue services have ever faced.
European assistance and support for Sweden
“We will not be able to extinguish the largest fires,” said Eliasson. “In these cases, rescue services are working to minimize the spread of the flames and wait until the weather changes.”
Forecasts predict a few light showers overnight to Sunday, which could ease the situation slightly, but storms with lightning and strong winds could start new fires.