EU doubles firefighting fleet due to climate change

STORY: "In recent years, we have seen wildfires raging in countries in the central and even northern Europe... This is why we are scaling up our response capacity across the mechanism including our ability to tackle wildfires," he said.

For the coming wildfire season the RescEU firefighting aircraft reserve will include 24 planes and four helicopters from 10 member states, the EU said.

Ground teams will consist of almost 450 firefighters from 11 member states who will be based in France, Greece and Portugal, Hans Das, the head of the EU's Emergency Response Coordination Centre, said at an event marking its 10th anniversary in Brussels.

Southern Europe is bracing for a summer of ferocious drought, with some regions already suffering water shortages and farmers expecting their worst yields in decades.