Thursday, 3 October 2019

Czechs offer helicopter to Sweden to help extinguish fires

24 July 2018

Prague, July 23 (CTK) - The Czech Republic has offered help with extinguishing extensive fires in Sweden in the form of a helicopter with a special water bucket and a crew, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Irena Valentova told CTK on Monday.

Czech diplomacy is now waiting for the Swedish reaction.

Sweden was hit by an extreme dry and hot season and dozens of forest fires, as a consequence, in the past days.

The country does not have sufficient capacities for their extinguishing. This is why several European countries sent aid to it.

"On Sunday already, I asked the air service of the Police of the Czech Republic to provide a special helicopter and the maximum possible cooperation in aid to Sweden," Interior Minister Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats (CSSD), who is also in charge of heading the Foreign Ministry, said.

The Czech Republic has immediately offered a Bell 412 helicopter with a special water bucket that enables to take water for fire extinguishing directly from surface water sources, Valentova said.

The Czech offer of help was registered in the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) in Brussels, coordinating the aid to Sweden, the Foreign Ministry said.

"Now we are waiting for Sweden's answer whether it will accept this form of aid," Valentova added.

The first forest fires emerged in Sweden in June. Then the temperature dropped for some time, but in July an extreme heat and forest fires returned. The current heat wave has beaten the records since the 19th century when temperature started being systematically measured in Sweden.

Some Swedish towns reported temperatures of above 30 degrees centigrade for several days in a row, while a common summer daily temperature is around 23 degrees.

Sweden is not used to extensive forest fires and lacks sufficient capacities to fight with them. This is why firefighters from Italy, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Poland and France have arrived in Sweden to help extinguish the fires.

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