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