English press information

Field Exercise for the NRW Forest Fire Module 2023 in Portugal

The sole German wildfire fighting unit included in the European Civil Protection Mechanism (ECCP) departed today for the MODEX PT 2023 certification exercise in Portugal. It encompasses 64 members from the fire services of Bonn, Königswinter, Leverkusen, Düsseldorf, Ratingen, operating 20 fire trucks and 4 trailers.

Previously, the unit has been deployed to Greece (2021) and France (2022), joining other European units in assisting local services to fight extensive forest fires.

According to the statutes of the ECCP, all units provided by EU states must be certified by the European Commission. For the German unit, this certification process was delayed for two years by the Corona pandemic. With the upcoming MODEX PT field exercise, the certification is expected to be completed.

The field exercise will take place from May 3-5, 2023, in the region of Abrantes, northeast of the Portuguese capital Lisbon. Here, the German contingent will have to prove its capabilities under realistic wildfire fighting conditions, joining other units from the European Union.

For three days, the unit will have to operate from a self-supporting field camp and provide firefighting capabilities around the clock. Additionally, the unit will be audited for logistics, leadership and management, and liaising with local and international contacts.

The members of the German unit originate from professional and volunteer fire services, include two expert advisors from @fire, a non-governmental relief organization, as well as four specialists from Johanniter International Assistance, providing rations.

Nationally, the unit is considered a pilot project, acquiring expertise which can then be disseminated to other fire services in Germany, to meet the increasing challenges of combatting wildfires.

  • The team consists of 60 firefighters with 21 vehicles in total.
  • The team is deployed by European Civil Protection and working closely with national and local authorities as well as international partners.
  • The European Civil Protection is a network of disaster relief authorities, providing emergency assistance in response to various kinds of emergencies.
  • More on forest fires and the ECP’s response to the phenomenon can be accessed on the ECP website.