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Fires rage in Sweden. The blue plan triggered. French canadairs arrive (V2)

(B2) Two Canadairs CL415 aircraft and a Beech 200 from French civil security are arriving this Thursday (July 19) in Sweden in order to strengthen local resources engaged against major forest fires. Sweden lacks fire-fighting resources. Stockholm has decided to trigger the “blue plan”

(credit: SVT)

Critical situation, call for help

Stockholm has decided to trigger the European civil protection mechanism. Norwegian helicopters have already been on site since Sunday evening: two of them in Älvdalen and Dalarna, two in Bollnäs and two in Örebro, according to the swedish television. Two Italian water bombers arrived on Wednesday as reinforcements. And French assets – two Canadairs and a reconnaissance plane – will be hard at work today. They will be based at Örebro Airport. A particularly reinforcement precious » by MSB, the Swedish civil security agency. These planes (like their Italian counterparts) can carry 6000 liters of water on each rotation. NB: Much more than a helicopter which only carries 500 liters on each rotation.

Ground reinforcements from four countries and satellite aid

Other reinforcements came from Germany (5 helicopters) and Lithuania (1 helicopter), Denmark (12 vehicles and 55 personnel) and Poland (44 vehicles and 139 firefighters). Furthermore, the terrestrial reconnaissance satellite Copernicus was also called upon to provide damage assessment maps in the affected areas.

Critical situation

The situation has been critical for several days in several parts of the country in Jämtland, Hälsingland and Dalarna, in northern and central Sweden. Faced with the advance of the flames, villages had to be evacuated. Around 75 outbreaks were recorded at the start of the week. “ This is a serious situation and the risk of wildfire is extremely high throughout the countrys,” notes Jakob Wernerman, director of operations at the Swedish Civil Protection Agency MSB.

A lack of means

The Swedes do not really have aerial fire-fighting equipment like the countries of the South which face this type of threat more regularly. The controversy is also starting to swell in Sweden over this weakness. The seven Agusta Westland-type naval helicopters AW139 in particular cannot be used, because they do not have the hook necessary to carry water balloons, according to an investigation by SVT, Swedish television.

European solidarity in every way

Comment: Curious turn of events, too. Sweden (like some other countries in northern Europe, the Netherlands, Germany, etc.) have sometimes been reluctant to release resources (financial and material) or strengthen permanent means of civil protection - especially defended by southern countries: Italy, Greece, etc. — who felt the need (Read: Civil protection, how Europe lost a battle). And today, it is the southern countries that are called to the rescue. It is true that Stockholm in the migration crisis has not skimped on its assistance, committing its coast guard particularly off the coast of Greece (read in particular: Swedish coastguard injured in Frontex operation).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Read our sheet on the European Civil Protection Mechanism

Read also: Civil protection. The current system is outdated. The Commission proposes to go ahead

Updated 22.7 with data from other contributing countries

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).