French firefighters in support of fires in Greece testify

“We must respond quickly and prepare to go anywhere at any time”: Nicolas Faure, a French firefighter sent to Greece as reinforcement, points out that interventions abroad are increasing with global warming. “Since our intervention during the violent fires in Sweden (in the summer of 2018), we have integrated this reflection: fires can affect any country and we must prepare at any time,” says Lieutenant Colonel Nicolas Faure.

The 55-year-old firefighter left for Athens on Thursday night, with the first French firefighting detachment dispatched as part of European aid. Abroad, firefighters have “some points of difficulty, recognizes Nicolas Faure: for example, in Greece, the hose connection format is not the same as in France”. “We try to play, we adapt,” he says.

The retours d’expérience are multiplied, améliorant encore the preparation of the combattants of the feu: «On going ahead of the coming south of difficultés qu’on connaît sur ces missions and also améliorer us proprese devices for rapport à ce qu’on voit abroad. “On Tuesday, a new contingent of French sailors and firefighters arrived in Greece, bringing French aid to 140 troops, with them some fifty forest fire-fighting vehicles.

Newly arrived in Greece in this new detachment after an overnight trip to Italy and then two ferry crossings, Colonel Frédéric Gosse, 56, notes: “The episodes of heat and drought, which we have always known in the Mediterranean, return increasingly. often and are getting longer and more marked. “The topography of Greece, recognizes this firefighter from Var,” corresponds to that of the south of France. “

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“What is striking are all these fires at the same time,” testifies Nicolas Faure. “When we arrived, there were fires towards Athens, on the island of Euboea, we had the impression that all of Greece was on fire,” he sums up. As in the south of France, where it also comes from, “the fires start from very sensitive rural areas, with many houses to protect.” Traumatized by the recurring fires, and in particular the deadly fire of July 2018 that killed more than a hundred victims in Mati, northeast of Athens, the inhabitants “are very sensitive to the commitment of France, every day we have spontaneous and sincere testimonials of appreciation ”, says Nicolas Faure.

European aid, which includes the arrival of the French, “relieved the Greeks, very happy to see us arrive, with fresh equipment and adequate means,” explains Frédéric Gosse. “The European mechanism is fully operational,” he says with satisfaction. On Wednesday, the European Commission announced the dispatch of planes, helicopters and firefighters to Italy, Greece, Albania and North Macedonia to help these countries fight the fires. In this context, in addition to personnel and ground vehicles, France sent three Canadairs and one observation aircraft. Even if firefighters keep a strong watch in the south of France, an area still sensitive to summer fires.

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