For three days now, the forest fire unit from NRW has been active in forest fire operations in Greece. Four @fire technical advisors support the operation. After arriving in the Peloponnese region on Tuesday, the 57 emergency forces moved into their base camp at a reservoir near the town of Tropea. Originally, this was to be built near the village of Heria. However, as it became apparent that this area would also be affected by the fire due to the strong winds, the location of the base was changed. The forest fire unit from NRW is completely self-sufficient in the base camp, and the food is also provided by the forces brought along.
After the briefing of the task forces by the local authorities and the advance command of the Bonn fire brigade, as well as coordination with local fire brigades and other foreign units, the forest fire unit split into two teams for the coming days. While one half is on fire duty, the other second team takes care of the warehouse and the maintenance and care of the equipment used.
For the team in the field, the working day begins at 07:00. After receiving the mission order, the team travels to the scene of the incident. Since the operation sites outside the main roads are often located in rough terrain, precise planning of the approach is necessary here. After arrival, the forces usually work almost self-sufficiently. Local authorities provide local guides to support the team.
During the first two days, the units deployed were called upon not only to extinguish fires but also to provide water. The tankers were used to bring fire-fighting water to remote locations to enable the forces working there to work. A mobile fire water tapping point was set up at a central location and refilled again and again, at which the fire engines of the operation section could be refilled with fire water.
Today, Friday, the situation on the ground has eased somewhat. Many of the fires are under control. At the moment, the forces from NRW are mainly busy with post-extinguishing work as temperatures remain high. The main objective is to find and extinguish hidden pockets of embers. This sounds trivial at first, but it is enormously important to prevent the fire from flaring up again when the wind picks up. Often the embers are hidden in the ground or behind tree bark. Accordingly, the ground as well as the tree bark must be broken up with tools before the pockets of embers are extinguished with water. This is very strenuous in the prevailing outside temperatures of around 40° C. Great care is taken to ensure that the emergency workers take regular breaks and drink enough water.
Despite the exertions, the mood among the deployed forces is very positive. The return of the unit is expected in the coming week. Currently, the planning for the return begins. A total of 57 forces from the fire brigades of Bonn, Königswinter and Leverkusen, the DRK Bonn and MHD Bonn as well as expert advisors from the aid organisation @fire are on the scene.
Source: Feuerwehr Bonn