On Thurs­day evening, August 18, 2022, the 65 forces of the forest fire unit and their 20 vehi­cles returned from their mission in south­west­ern France exhausted but healthy.

“The oper­a­tion was very exhaust­ing, but also very success­ful, and the most impor­tant thing is that all the emer­gency person­nel are back safe and sound,” said Jochen Stein, head of the fire and rescue service of the city of Bonn, which coor­di­nated the unit’s operation.

The helpers from the fire depart­ments of Bonn, Düssel­dorf, Königswin­ter, Leverkusen, Ratin­gen, forces from Lower Saxony, expert advi­sors from the aid orga­ni­za­tions “@fire” and a supply unit of the Johan­niter had started on their mission south of Bordeaux in the night of August 11. On site, the task was to prevent the flames from spread­ing in an exten­sive forest fire after brief­ing by local author­i­ties in high outside temper­a­tures. In partic­u­lar, fire nests were extin­guished in impass­able terrain, build­ings were protected and fire­breaks were created. A change in weather, with precip­i­ta­tion and lower temper­a­tures, now allowed the unit to return from deploy­ment slightly earlier than orig­i­nally planned. 

The German forces on the ground in France were highly appre­ci­ated for their help by the local author­i­ties as well as the popu­la­tion. With the sweaty work, the fire­fight­ers were able to make an impor­tant contri­bu­tion to the contain­ment of the large forest fire, in addi­tion to other help from other Euro­pean coun­tries. The expe­ri­ence gained, which is also passed on to the other emer­gency services at the loca­tions, also creates direct added value for the fire departments.


To date, the only German unit for ground-based Vege­ta­tions­brand­bekämp­fung involv­ing Vege­ta­tions­brand­bekämp­fung vehi­cles (offi­cially: Ground Forest Fire Vege­ta­tions­brand­bekämp­fung using Vehi­cles, GFFF-V) regis­tered in the Euro­pean Civil Protec­tion Mech­a­nism was set up to support local emer­gency forces in the event of large vege­ta­tion fires. After the forma­tion of the unit in 2019, it was now the second mission for the specially trained forces in France, follow­ing assis­tance with vege­ta­tion fires in the Pele­ponnes in August 2021. The module was trained in coop­er­a­tion with @fire and the Federal Acad­emy for Civil Protec­tion and Civil Defense (BABZ) of the Federal Office of Civil Protec­tion and Disas­ter Assis­tance (BBK).