By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
Sweden has requested Finland to continue to help in extinguishing forest fires in the country. The Ministry of the Interior made a decision on 1 August to continue the assistance until 10 August. The rescue team working in Sweden comprises about 30 people and rescue gear such as fire engines, water tenders, motor pumps and all-terrain vehicles, according to a statement from Finland.
The members of the rescue team are from the North Savo, Oulu-Koillismaa and Lapland Rescue Departments, and they are currently off duty and not on standby. This ensures that the readiness to respond to possible forest fires and wildfires is maintained in Finland. The firefighters are members of rescue departments or contract fire brigades.
“Rescue departments have showed flexibility and readiness to operate in long-term assistance duties. The strength of the team stays the same although the members are replaced by others in the middle of the operation. By helping Sweden, our rescue departments gain useful experience for our national readiness,” says Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB) has thanked Finland for its significant contribution. Finnish firefighters have a lot of expertise, for example in extinguishing fires in challenging terrain.
The Crisis Management Centre Finland (CMC Finland), which operates under the Ministry of the Interior and which is co-located with the Emergency Services College, is responsible for practical implementation of Finland’s international civil protection missions. The Centre acts as the coordinator and employer of the rescue team working in Sweden. CMC Finland has also sent a technical team of three persons to support the rescue team. The technical team helps in logistics, communications and purchases on location.