For the first time ever, Norwegian fire-fighters are taking part in an EU cooperative effort to extinguish a major blaze outside Norway. They’re preparing for extreme conditions when they arrive in Greece.
Forest and brush fires there have been threatening cities including Athens, and the country is also in the midst of another heat wave. “This isn’t only a bit scary but we have great respect for the risks we’ll face,” Norwegian fire contable Bjørn Ivar Haugdal told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) before they travel this weekend.
Several European countries are sending crews and equipment to Greece, with Norway sending two teams consisting of a total of 27 people. Most of the crews heading for Greece are from Telemark and have experience fighting forest fires in remote locations.
Now they’ll get what Norwegian preparedness officials call more “valuable experience and training” in fires of “another character.” It’s not often Norwegian crews need to fight fires in temperatures well over 30C, use salt tablets and be equipped with sacks of drinking water. The first team is leaving on Saturday, and will be responsible for trying to secure residential neighbourhoods from the flames. The second crew will travel two weeks later to relieve the first team.