Most European countries have their own air and ground firefighting units. France happens to be one of the best equipped Member State in this area. Nevertheless, the pooling of these control methods at the European level is a necessity recognized by all. In 2009, the creation of the European Union Forest Fires Tactical Reserve aimed to address this issue but the actions taken were limited to short-term rental of equipment for the benefit of the affected countries (1).
fire season in addition to unsustainable forestry, spatial planning and demographic changes.
In December 2013, the Parliament and the European Council published the decision n°1313, which defines the frame of the new mechanism of European Civil Protection services. This decision dates the implementation of a European Emergency Response Capacity (2) (European Civil Protection Pool) based on the voluntary provision by member countries, of equipment and men. The strength will be coordinated by the ERCC (3)(Emergency Reaction Coordination Centre) based in Brussels.
Despite the establishment of this mechanism, in 2020, Europe notes that more and more EU citizens suffer directly & indirectly from wildfire impacts every year:
- hundreds of casualties, billions of economic damages, millions of ha of forest and Natura 2000 areas ravaged – not only in South but also rising in Central, East and North EU.
- Extreme wildfires as in Portugal (2017) and Greece (2018) will be more common, with negative effects on climate change (huge GHG), carbon sinks, biodiversity, air pollution.
- Climate change increases wildfires’ severity, extent of burned areas and length of the fire season.
To address this situation, Europe decides to invest massively in innovation via the Call Green Deal H2020. This financial mechanism makes it possible to promote pilot projects of which Kepplair Evolution could be part because there is no Multirole Very Large Airtanker in Europe.
– Renting of two French CL215 Canadairs by the EC in July and August 2009 for a cost of 2.5 M€. Aircraft were based in Bastia. Experience did not fulfill expectations due to aircraft low ferry-speed and contract legal complexity.