Portugal’s 140 firefighters return from Canada after fortnight

Portugal’s 140 firefighters return from Canada after fortnight

But Canada’s fires show no sign of being brought under control

The 140 firefighters and specialists that Portugal sent to Canada to help fight forest fires in that country arrive in Lisbon today, two weeks after setting out on their mission.

In a statement, the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) said that the National Joint Operational Force (FOCON) sent to Canada to support the fight against forest fires arrives this evening at 22:15 at Figo Maduro military airfield near Lisbon.

FOCON – comprises operatives from ANEPC, ANEPC’s Special Civil Protection Force, the GNR’s Emergency Protection and Rescue Unit (UEPS), the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF), members of the central region and Madeira fire brigades, and the National Medical Emergency Institute (INEM) – left Lisbon on June 14.

Their mission, led by the second regional commander of Emergency and Civil Protection of the North, Armando Silva, played out in Lebel-sur-Quévillion, Quebec province – one of the worst affected by the fires.  

Portugal’s help was the result of a request for international assistance to fight forest fires made by Canadian authorities through the European Mechanism for Civil Protection.

Canada has been fighting fires since the beginning of May in an unprecedented fire season, which has already destroyed around 7.7 million hectares. It has today been dubbed “the worst fire season on record”, and as all reports concede, there are months to go before rains and cooler temperatures are expected.

Source: LUSA