Fixed-wing agricultural pilot from New Zealand, Simon Pemberton, has opened up about what it’s like fighting wildfires during Greece’s summer season.
In an interview with stuff.co.nz, Simon detailed how he operates a fleet of aircraft specialising in aerial firefighting at a Hellenic Airforce base off Almiros.
“We are basically on standby from daylight to dark, with a contractual requirement to be airborne within 20 minutes of a call,” Simon told the website, adding that the crew sits within 20 metres of the planes in air conditioned huts.
“When fire conditions are considered serious enough, we are sent on a patrol to actively look for fire or be in the vicinity if one is reported.”
Simon is in Greece on a NATO contract as part of the organisation’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The NSPA has deployed 40 aircraft to assist Greece with their wildfires in 2022.
One wildfire Simon recalled vividly was on the Greek island of Lesvos this year, which burned more than 3000 hectares and destroyed several buildings and houses.
Read more on this story at the Greek Herald