The two Canadair CL-415 airplanes (CAN 13 and CAN 28) of the Fire Department took off yesterday evening from Rome-Ciampino to Portugal (Montereal) to support the wide firefighting activity that due to the high temperatures, are interesting the regions of Bragança, Lisboa, Setúbal, and Santarém.
The aircraft have been activated by Brussels upon request by the Portuguese Government in the context of the “EU-Better Use of Forest Fire Extinguishing Resources by Italy” European project, in collaboration with the head of the Civil Defence Department, Fabrizio Curcio
, and the chief of the Fire Department Bruno Frattasi
The transfer of Canadair aircraft is funded by the European Commission (for 85%), while the expenses on the territory are ensured by the Country that has made the aid request.
Due to the flight hours, and the technical stop-over necessary to reach the operations site, they could make the intervention from today in the afternoon-evening. To support pilots, in order to take the necessary contacts with the local civil defence authorities, will be on the location also delegates of the Italian Civil Defence Department and the Fire Department.
These planes, during the period in which they are not utilized, upon request by Brussels, in one of the other Countries of the EU in critical situation, are available on the Italian territory and added to those predicted in the context of the national fleet.
The two aircraft were ready from early hours of yesterday to take off towards Portugal in the moment in which the hit State had made request.
The pre-activation of the airplanes of the Fire Department, following to the request by the Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC) in Brussels in contact with the Portuguese Nation, has been immediate. The real departure has happened only in the moment in which Lisbon has confirmed the need of the Italian intervention, considering that -also for reasons of territorial proximity-, both French and Spanish aircraft and crews were arrived on the site to support the operations by the Portuguese teams.
The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Internal Cooperation, Angelino Alfano
declared: “I express my deepest-felt condolences for the numerous victims caused by the tragic wildfires that have hit Portugal, devastating vast woodlands around the town of Pedrogao Grande. Italy always stands close to the people and Government of Portugal, and is ready to give all the support possible in case of necessity".
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