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The forest fire commission reunited after the pandemic for a three day meeting in Athens in May 2022.
31 May 2022

The Forest Fire Commission met in Athens for a focused review of the wildfire season 2021

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The forest fire commission meeting in Athens in MayFirefighters around the world face the same danger and challenges, it is time to talk about them and expand our horizons.

 

The meeting of the CTIF forest fires commission took place for the first time in its history in Greece in the city of Athens from 2-5 of May 2022. The topic of the meeting had to do with the lessons learnt of the Fire Season 2021 in Greece, the extreme fire behavior and the use of aerial firefighting in forest fires.

Representatives from France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Bulgaria and Greece participated. We feel so grateful about the countries that helped us and we thanked them for their feedback.

 

The forest fire commission meeting in Athens in May

 

The forest fire commission meeting in Athens in MayFire season 2021 was the most difficult fire season we had to face since 2007

 
By: Zisoula Ntasiou

The behaviour of the fires was extreme, we encountered mainly crown fires of Pinus halepensis forests, mostly plume – driven, with high degree of fire line intensity, rate of spread, flame length, spotting activity, appearance of pyrocumulus, pyroCb, downdrafts and fire tornadoes.

The appearance of all the above characteristics, even without wind, created an unpredictable behaviour of forest fires extremely dangerous for the safety of citizens, staff and all the involved parties. Dealing with such conditions and fire behaviour is extremely difficult to control them.

Fire season 2021 was one of the least windy in the last 20 years, the average temperature was 1.6 ° C higher than normal, the rainfall during both winter and summer season was much less than normal. This lead us to two fierce heatwaves, both in terms of intensity and in duration. 

We had a relative humidity below 10% from the beginning of July,  giving us these extreme wildfire events which ended up  burning more than 101.000 hectares.

EU has mobilized one of the largest ever European deployments of firefighters and aircrafts in history. In total, 24 firefighting aircrafts, 1301 firefighters and 277 vehicles from 22 countries around the world participated in the battle for tackling the wildfires in Greece. Some of them, where you and we really feel grateful for your help.

 

Representatives at the forest fire meeting in Athens

Climate change is here to stay

The CTIF Commission for Forest Fires has during previous years worked thoroughly and persistently in the exchange of knowledge, experiences and views on forest firefighting and forest fires. 

Unfortunately, in the future due to the climate crisis , we will continue to face extreme weather events and very high temperatures during the summer.  This will have an impact on our forest ecosystems and will increase the demands on us as firefighters, both on those of us on the ground and on the airborne forces.  We will have to be more alert, we need to respond faster, put in more effort, and more hours, not just in terms of employment, but also training and increased specialization.

Firefighters around the world face the same danger and challenges, it is time to talk about them and expand our horizons.

Climate change is here, is happening right now, we must be focus and learn from each other. Knowing our mistakes, knowing our achievements, using new technology and science, we can be more prepared and effective in future challenges.

In catastrophes nobody is alone, we are all together.

 The forest fire commission meeting in Athens in May