Cres HR, April 2019

The First Forest Exercise

From 7 to 10 April 2019 the first forest fire fighting exercise within the EU MODEX framework took place  in Cres, Croatia.

Field exerciseFirefightingCroatia

The exercise consisted of 4 days’ field activities and focused on operational cooperation of all involved partners within the framework of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism being part of Cycle 9, 2018-2019 EU MODEX organized by Lot 2.  The capabilities involved in the exercise were three Ground Forest Fire Fighting using Vehicles from Austria, Bulgaria and Italy, two Ground Forest Fire Fighting from Spain and Greece, Forest Fire Advisory Team from Spain and Emergency Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems from France. Communication was very important for a successful cooperation. During the exercise, the modules attended several meetings, among themselves, with representatives of local authorities and other key players from the civil protection field.

The incoming assistance faced a number of challenges: crossing the sea, the dense vegetation and steep hills of Cres Island called for special firefighting techniques while the fire was spreading quickly due to the changing weather. During the missions, the EU rescuers managed to build defense corridors, evacuate people and animals, save victims and limit the fire from spreading towards Cresland’s most critical infrastructure.

 The situation requested a continues coordination and cooperation between the teams, from the ground and from the air, and local authorities.

The Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Mr. Christos Stylianides visited the CRESMODEX. The Commissioner was proud of what he saw during his visit on the exercise sites having the possibility of exchanging opinions with the participants. He expressed his feeling that the added value of international civil protection exercises stands in creating a place where specialists can exchange expertise and know-how in order to prepare the EU collective response for future challenges.

Seven modules, 75 various trucks and vehicles and almost six hundreds of participants, staff members and volunteers have been engaged in the exercise.

This was only the beginning of the forest fires exercises, such exercises being included in all next cycles of EU MODEX.

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