NSPA supports firefighting in Greece

08 October 2019


Greece has been repetitively affected by wildfires in the last years. The heat waves, together with the low relative humidity and strong winds resulted in forest fires breaking out. In order to help protecting the people, landscapes and natural resources of the Mediterranean country, NSPA, as requested by the Greek Authorities, is providing substantial vertical aerial support to the Hellenic Fire Brigade.

A total of 16 helicopters, medium and heavy lift with different capabilities, have been deployed in different strategic locations by the Greek firefighter operational command (Heraklion, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli, Rhodos, Mytilene, etc.).  These helicopters provide aerial suppression support on wildfire intervention during the yearly high season peaks.

In order to contribute to this capability, NSPA has put into place an overarching Wet Leasing contract that includes the availability and management of helicopters, pilots, crewmembers & mechanics.  The use of two-size categories helicopter (heavy and medium) allows crews to operate in remote locations without the need to return to a permanent operating base for water refilling, reducing the time between successive drops and maximizing the effect to suppress wildfires initiation and prevent loss of control.

A wildfire's burning front may change direction unexpectedly and jump across firebreaks.  Moreover, intense heat and smoke can lead to disorientation and loss of appreciation of the direction of the fire, which, if not treated in a timely manner, contribute to the fire growing out of control.  Similarly, rapid intervention with such an aerial asset (in particular in high population density area) is paramount to ensuring a proactive and optimal fire protection reaction.

NSPA’s expertise in Aviation Life Cycle Management & Procurement has become a key asset to contribute handling this kind of situations. In the coming years, the Agency will continue working together with the Greek Authorities and the Hellenic Fire Brigade to ensure that the necessary capabilities are in place and time to protect the country from uncontrolled wildfires.