The Portuguese government announced Thursday that Portugal will send a team of about 100 specialists to help fight the raging wildfires in Canada, as part of the European effort.
Portuguese Interior Minister José Luis Carneiro told local media that this team of “100 to 120 people”, made up mainly of firefighters, foresters and civil protection specialists, is “in the making”.
He added, “We are just waiting for Canada to tell us how the airlift will be done. Once this issue is resolved, this team will leave.”
Similar to Portugal, several EU countries such as Spain and France have already offered to send nearly 300 firefighters to help Canada, which has asked the EU for support under the safeguards mechanism, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
“Portugal cannot miss the call and show solidarity in the framework of” the European effort, the Portuguese minister said.
In Canada, the authorities consider the situation exceptional in terms of the number of hectares burned at this time of the year.
The country as a whole is experiencing an unprecedented year: some 2,300 forest fires have been recorded and some 3.8 million hectares have been burned, a much higher total than the average of recent decades.