Merseyside team sent to Greece to help tackle wildfires

British experts are being sent to Greece to help tackle the wildfires ravaging parts of the country.

Sunday, 8th August 2021, 10:08 am
Updated Sunday, 8th August 2021, 10:12 am
A local resident walks as a wildfire rages near the village of Gouves, on Euboea island,the second largest Greek island

Teams from Merseyside, Lancashire, South Wales, London and West Midlands fire services are flying to Athens this weekend.

The deployment follows a request from Home Secretary Priti Patel, who visited Greece this week.

The teams sent by the National Fire Chiefs Council( NFCC) will be deployed alongside their Greek counterparts.

Ms Patel said: “I’ve seen first-hand this week the devastating wildfires ripping through Greece and the UK stands shoulder to shoulder with our Greek friends at this difficult time.

“I’ve asked the National Fire Chiefs Council to send out a specialist team to provide support in responding to this emergency. I am immensely grateful to the brave firefighters for stepping forward and volunteering to help and their expertise will be invaluable in supporting the Greek emergency services.”

NFCC chairman Mark Hardingham said: “The UK Fire and Rescue Service will be offering support to our colleagues in Greece, along with their communities who need assistance during these devastating wildfires.

“NFCC’s national resilience function is in place to deploy both in the UK and overseas – and the team is highly skilled at responding to extreme events such as these.

“We can offer professional and technical skills to our fire family in Greece at a time when help is needed; it is ingrained in the professional nature of FRS staff to assist.”

There were dramatic scenes as ferries evacuated 1,153 people from a seaside village and beaches on Evia after flames from a massive wildfire burning for days cut off all other means of escape.

A fire threatening Athens’ most important national park killed one volunteer firefighter, while at least 20 people have been injured in blazes during the country’s worst heat wave in 30 years.