KFOR is working with its civilian counterparts to put out the wildfires burning across Kosovo. There has been an incredible heat wave across Kosovo for weeks; however, it is a Kosovo tradition that farmers – after harvesting their fields – burn the remaining straw. This tradition, plus extremely dry and hot weather conditions, means spontaneous wildfires have erupted all over Kosovo.
For that reason civilian institutions have requested KFORs support in firefighting operations all over Kosovo. Where ever possible, KFOR has made its assets available. KFOR has assisted not only with helicopters, but also with trained firefighting personnel on the ground. These men and women are helping battle several different fires.
When conditions allow, KFORs helicopters operate from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. However, it is not possible for helicopters to drop the water at night, and only certain types of helicopters are equipped for firefighting operations.
KFOR has provided Bell UH 1 and AS 332 Super Puma helicopters to drop water over burning lands. Because of existing landmines, it is extremely dangerous for pilots to drop tons of water from a low altitude; therefore, assistance is sometimes limited.
KFORs determination to serve in this region for the benefit of all residents of Kosovo is not limited to military means.