Merseyside firefighters to lead team of UK rescue workers tackling wildfires in Greece

  • Video report by Andrew Fletcher.

Firefighters from Merseyside are being sent to Greece to lead a team of rescuers helping to tackle wildfires devastating parts of the country.

The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) national resilience team, which also includes firefighters from Lancashire, is responding to a formal request from Home Secretary Priti Patel to give operational assistance to Greece.

The teams sent by the NFCC will be deployed alongside their Greek counterparts.

  • The British team will be overseen by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service's Deputy Chief Fire Officer Nick Searle in his lead role for National Resilience.

The move comes as wildfires continue to blaze across Greece, threatening homes and triggering more evacuations a day after hundreds of people were plucked off beaches by ferries in a dramatic overnight rescue.

One volunteer firefighter has died and at least 20 people have been treated in hospitals.

Dozens of fires are burning across the country and one official has described the blazes as “a biblical catastrophe.”

MFRS’ Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: "The team of 21 firefighters will offer professional and technical skills to our friends and colleagues in Greece at a time when they need us most.

"I have no doubt that our teams will do all they can to assist our colleagues in Greece, along with their communities, during these devastating wildfires.

“I am extremely proud that we and other Fire & Rescue Services from across the country have been able to step up and mobilise a team within 24 hours of the initial request. It is by no means a surprise – helping people is what we do and our desire to help will not be limited by borders.

“Our Greece counterparts are struggling to deal with the scale of the wildfires. These fires are devastating the communities and putting lives at risk and it is only right that we as a country assist.”

The fires are largely due to the country’s most severe heatwave in 30 years, with temperatures soaring to more than 40 degrees centigrade in some areas.  More fires are likely, with forecasts of strong winds and searing temperatures.