The adult CTIF Competitions in Celje, 2022
01 Jan 2023

CTIF´s year of 2022 in Review - 3rd quarter July - September


Six countries go to help GreeceBy the beginning of July 2022, multiple out-of -control-wildfires and heatwaves in Europe was starting to become a grim reality. Extreme weather in the form of both record high temperatures and floods were dominating world news. 

200 firefighters from six EU countries came to Greece to help  with their wildfire situation, in an effort to avoid a repetition of the disastrous forest fires which nearly destroyed the capital of Athens in 2021. The EU pre-positioning some heavy duty fire fighting forces to Greece from Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Norway and Romania. These countries are a part of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM)  and were sent there with their  equipment for the two most dangerous months of the fire season, July and August. 

Torrential rains struck Sydney in Australia, where thousands of people had to be evacuated. Huge torrential rains swept across the southeastern part of the country. In a short time, 200-350 millimeters of rain fell  in some places and the water masses in the five million city of Sydney were described as very dangerous. 


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Read the CTIF  2022 - First Quarter Review 

Read the CTIF 2022 - 2nd Quarter Review

Read the CTIF 2022 - Fourth Quarter Review

Screenshot of 18 fire firefighters injured in France18 firefighters were injured in France in the first week of July, as more than 1,000 firefighters were  battling widespread forest fires in the southeastern part of the country.  Meanwhile, 250 wildfires were raging in Portugal and a state of emergency was declared in the country. Drought and heat waves were hitting all of  Southern Europe hard. Flash floods killed 16 in Kashmir. 

Parts of southern Europe were struck by the second heat wave of the year. Extremely hot weather with temperatures up to 43 degrees C / 109 F has been creating problems for both residents and farmers. For Spanish farmers, the heat continued to pose challenges after a spring a pre-summer which has already been unusually dry. A state of emergency due to drought and heat was declared in Italy. 



Screenshot of the Celje 2022 articleFirefighters Olympics and Delegates Assembly in Celje, Slovenia

For CTIF,  the heat was also a concern as Slovenia was ramping up to arrange the Firefighter Olympics in Celje, July 18 - 23.The country had been able to avoid any forest fires, but as temperatures were soaring around 40 degrees C, the heat was an unusual concern. As it turned out the event went smooth and was successful, as the event was powered by large crews of dedicated volunteers. According to the locals, Slovenia has the highest number of firefighters per capita in the world. Judging from the amazing efforts and numbers of volunteers helping to make the CTIF 2022 week run smoothly, it is obvious firefighting is truly a way of life here! 

Several events were taking place this past week: Not only did thousands of youth and adults from around the world arrive with their supporters and fans in the audience, we also held CTIF´s Delegates Assembly on Wednesday July 20th, as well as several other official functions running throughout the week - including a meeting of the CTIF Executive Committee (our governing board) in City Hall on Tuesday July 19th.


Screenshot of CTIF President Mian DubravacCTIF President Milan Dubravac held his Annual Report for CTIF, where he summarized the two difficult years of 2021 / 2022, since Delegates Assembly in Marseille and Delegates Assembly in Celje. 

Wildfire season continued in Europe throughout the July and the beginning of August, and especially the heat was killing residents in countries all over the globe. Greece however, which had feared a repetition of the near wildfire disaster of 2021, had an unexpected burst of rain and cooler temperatures by the end of the summer, which helped their firefighting efforts a great deal. 

The situation was also bringing some degree of innovation, as two spanish towns near Valencia install giant sprinklers for urban protection against wildfires.  According to an article in Wired magazine, these are the largest defense systems against wildfires in Europe at the moment. The so called Guardian towers are 24 meters / 79 feet tall, and they are now in operation in each of the two towns of Ribarroja and Paterna in the Valencia region of Spain.  Both towns have, according to the article, installed 40 of these towers surrounding their town centers. 


Screenshot of the WHO reportFirefighting now "certainly cancer-causing"

A scientific work group within WHO published a report determining that firefighters are at a higher risk for occupational cancer than previously thought.  The group recently conducted a scientific investigation into firefighting.

"The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), has re-evaluated firefighting and classified firefighter occupational exposure as a group 1 carcinogen, stating there is sufficient evidence for cancer in humans, " states a July 16 article on IAFF.org.   



Screenshot of the Fire Statistics Magazine for 2020. By August 1 2022, the  CTIF World Fire Statistics Report № 27 was available for download from CTIF Center for Fire Statistics. The current report № 27 of the CTIF World Fire Statistics was presented at the CTIF Delegates Assembly 2022 in Celje (Slovenia) on July 20, 2022.

The complete report is available for free download here on CTIF.org, along with all other reports collected and published since the start of digital delivery in 2005. Since 1995, the Center of Fire Statistics (CFS) has published annual World Fire Statistics reports in 3 languages.

Some reports additionally were translated into Polish (2006), Turkish (2007), Hungarian (2018), Spanish (2018, Bomberos de Chile), Persian (2020), Korean (2021), and Spanish (2022, Organización de Bomberos Americanos - OBA) languages.


Screenshot for article about urban sprinklersHail and thunderstorms follow extreme droughts

By August 18, hail and thunderstorms were predicted to upstage the major heat waves and forest fires, and according to Jesús San-Miguel at the EU's forest fire data authority, the situation with a combination of high heat, dry vegetation and the possibility of ignition from lighting, was highly worrying.

The heat had not just been affecting southern Europe. Also areas like the UK, which usually escape the higher temperatures, were dealing with extensive forest fires. 

In July for several days in a row, the temperature had reached over 30 degrees C in England and Wales, and recorded a high was 34.9 degrees C / 94,8 F in Charlwood in Surrey, according to The Guardian.  July was the driest month since 1935 in England  - and parts of south-east England has experienced the driest month of July historically on record.

According to EDC, the European drought observatory, 47 percent of the EU region was experiencing drought-like conditions and 15 percent suffered from severe water shortages. Data from the European Forest Fire Information System, EFFIS, showed that the previous record  from 2017 had been broken. 659,541 hectares of land had burned in Europe up to this point,  compared to 420,913 hectares during the same period in 2017.


Screenshot of hail and thunder stormsMixed extreme weather also in the US, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran

While parts of the eastern United States have been hit by widespread rain and flooding, in July,  large wildfires were raging in the western parts of the country. In the Klamath National Park in California, the McKinney fire, which grew from one square kilometer to 160 in just one day, had been a difficult situation. 

More than 350 people and approximately 1,800 animals were estimated to have died by the beginning of August in the floods in Pakistan. This is normally monsoon season in Pakistan, however this year´s rainfall has been extreme. Severe floods have also affected Bangladesh, India and the United Arab Emirates in the past month.

Temperatures reached more than 50 degrees C / 122 F during the first week of August in Iraq, making the country one of the hottest regions on the planet. During the week, several Iraqi cities topped the list of the world's currently hottest places. 


Screenshot of the August news summaryA summary of August´s news

So much happened during just a few weeks in the summer, that CTIF News decided to make a news summary of the Headlines from fire & rescue around the world for August 2022, in cooperation with the NFPA who has an excellent weekly newsletter. 

In Japan, Firefighter died on duty in a restaurant fire in the City of Schizouka. In Cuba, 16 firefighters died fighting a fire in an oil depoon August 15. 

On August 18, the BBC reported 16 of the missing firefighters dead. Forensic experts said identifying the remains of the dead has been difficult due to the high temperatures inside the fuel depo. 14 of 16 firefighters have been identified. Officials said it was the worst fire in Cuban history. 

In Egypt, a fire in a church killed more than 40 people near Cairo. About 1,000 people had gathered when the fire blocked an entrance to the church, causing panic. At  least 41 people, most of them children, died in the fire. Many others suffered from smoke inhalation, according to Reuters news agency. 

In France, the forest fire situation was still a great concern, and European firefighters from several countries join efforts. 

Firefighters from across Europe have arrived in France to help battle several wildfires, including a wildfire  affecting the pine forests in the southwest, according to an article on ABC News on August 12.  The fire in the Gironde region and neighboring Landes had burned more than 74 square kilometers (29 square miles) since Tuesday and has also led to the evacuation of at least 10,000 people. More than 360 firefighters and 100 specialized land vehicles were sent from Germany, Romania, Poland and Austria. They are joining over 1,000 French firefighters already on site. Greece sent two specialized Canadair aircraft. Sweden deployed two two firefighting Air Tractor planes to to help battle a different wildfire, in the Brittany region of western France. 

In the US, a massive fire in a hand sanitizer factory forced a defensive strategy Nearly 100 firefighters from 15 different agencies responded to a fire in a warehouse containing a large amounts of hand sanitizer in Chickasha, Oklahoma on August 7. The warehouse was around 12000 square meters / 120,000 square feet, and according to Chief Tony Samaniego with the Chickasha Fire Department, it was filled about half way with about 8000 pallets of alcohol based hand sanitiser.  The fire could not be attacked with water because of the highly flammable and hazardous contents inside, and it continued for hours, filling the area with thick black smoke.


Screenshot of an Ev fire responseEV vehicle fires a growing concern around the globe

While scientific research projects on how to safely, effectively and cleanly put out fires in Lithium-Ion batteries were starting to show promising results, firefighters were still dealing with often having to ad hoc solutions to these often very stubborn fires. On August 29, we published an article on how a fire service had managed to extinguish an EV by digging a hole in the parking lot, and partially submerging the vehicle.

The solution saved a lot of water. Some fire services had reported needing massive amounts of water to extinguish EV-vehicle fires, mainly due to the difficulties of penetrating the protective casing around the batteries. 


Screenshot of a nuclear power plantThe war in the Ukraine continues to threaten nuclear power plants

The world could be at the brink of a very large nuclear disaster, according to IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Association. Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), held a speech to the United Nations on Tuesday. He delivered his agency's report on the critical damage and security failings at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Several attacks and near misses had been reported at Ukraine´s nuclear power plants since near the beginning of the war. 

The IAEA director said on Tuesday September 6,  that "The first important safety pillar that exists in any nuclear facility is not to violate its physical integrity.... And unfortunately…this has happened. This happened and this continues to happen. The physical attack, wittingly or unwittingly – the hits that this facility has received and that I could personally see and assess together with my experts – is simply unacceptable."



Screenshot of "Under Fire"Under Fire - A special report on first responders in Ukraine

The NFPA Journal published a report on the difficult situation for first responders working during the war in Ukraine. CTIF had helped set up the interview and CTIF.org got the permission to reprint the report. In the article written by NFPA´s Jesse Roman,  "Under Fire - A special report on first responders in Ukraine", a top ranking official with the state Emergency Service of Ukraine spoke to the NFPA Journal about the realities faced by firefighters in war zones. The interview was conducted in the spring of 2022, and the stats in the report reflected the first few months of the war. 


The humanitarian disaster in Pakistan getting worse every day

The storms and monsoon rains in Pakistan had by September 2022 already affected over 33 million people. Over 1,300 people have died, including 466 children, and 100 000 have been recently evacuated, according to the UNHCR. The floods in Pakistan have led to the country's largest natural freshwater lake Manchar being close to overflowing. Over 100,000 people near the lake have been evacuated, according to international media reports on September 6.  The UN has previously warned that the situation in Pakistan could get worse and that more rain is expected in the next month.




Screenshot of the EC meeting in LuxembourgSeptember was a significant month for CTIF,  as we signed a new Memorandum of UnderstandingScreenshot of the WRO - MOU signing with WRO, the World Rescue Organisation.   It was signed by Paul Schroeder, Chairman of WRO and Milan Dubravac, President of CTIF,  on Saturday September 10. The partners underlined  the importance of representing the views and interests of the fire and rescue workers community in the context of road safety. The partners agree to collaborate and to support each other in order to disseminate the findings and the objectives of their work notably when related to extrication, post-crash care and road safety among their members.

The signing of the MOU occurred during the CTIF´s full day yearly physical meeting for the Executive Committee in Luxembourg. There was lots on the agenda during the meeting and CTIF News published a comprehensive report  from the meeting on September 14.


Screenshot of the water bomb in La MarceTorrential "water bomb" rain strikes the Marche region of Italy - Typhoons strike the far east

By mid September, the wet weather,  which in parts of Europe had followed the droughts and heatwaves,  continued to wreak havoc in many areas.  Ten people died and several more were missing after a heavy rain storm in the Marche region in central Italy. Several people drowned when their cars filled with water on the streets and over 50 people were injured. In the Italian media, the rain storm was being referred to as  a "water bomb". Streets in coastal villages and smaller towns near the regional capital of Ancona were completely flooded. 

Only days later, a super typhoon hit Japan, Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico and there was a 7,6 Earthquake in Mexico. Typhoon Nanmadol was allegedly the largest storm to have hit Japan ever. As many as 9 million people were at one point told to prepare to evacuate. 

In China, Typhoon Muifa also forced 1.6 million people from their homes around the same time.  It was the strongest typhoon in China since 1949. At least 426,000 people were evacuated in Shanghai and another 1.2 million people were taken to temporary shelters in the coastal province of Zhejiang.

As September was coming to an end, and so also the third quarter of this Yearly Review, two powerful hurricanes were striking the North American east coast. As Hurricane Ian strikes Florida, Hurricane Fiona already hit Puerto Rico, left two dead in the Dominican Republic - and finally headed all the way up the coast to Eastern Canada. 


Read the CTIF  2022 - First Quarter Review 

Read the CTIF 2022 - 2nd Quarter Review


Screenshot of the article outlining some of the effects of the hurricanes in late September