Finland prepares to send international civil protection experts to fight wildfires in Portugal

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 25.7.2023 9.22
Press release
The mountain on the horizon is covered with smoke. Five people are on their way to assist in extinguishing the wildfire.
Illustration of rescue service deployment in Greece last summer. Photo: Esa Ikäheimo 2022.

By decision of the Ministry of the Interior, Finland is preparing to send 48 rescue workers to Portugal to help manage wildfires. The Emergency Services Academy Finland is the employer of the rescue service personnel who will be deployed to Portugal.

Portugal has requested assistance from the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism in the management of wildfires. The request will be met with deployment of rescue service teams. This means that rescue personnel will be sent to the requesting country to support the local authorities in case of wildfires. 

This year, rescue personnel will be sent to Greece and France in addition to Portugal. Rescue service deployments bring together personnel from several EU Member States. 

- One of the deployment’s objectives is to gain experience of and learn about the different tactics, techniques and equipment to control wildfires, says Matti Inkeroinen who works as Coordinator of International Rescue Operations at the Emergency Services Academy.

The Emergency Services Academy is responsible for the training, recruitment and material logistics of the posted rescue workers. All departing rescue workers are included in the register of international rescue experts at the Emergency Services Academy.

The rescue workers will leave in two groups. The first group will leave on 16 August and the second group on 1 September. Both groups will work in Portugal for approximately 15 days. The groups will be led by Jani Pitkänen, Rescue Commander at the Rescue Department of City of Helsinki, and Kimmo Koskinen, Executive Fire Officer at the Rescue Department of Pirkanmaa. They were selected from the national register of experts maintained by the Emergency Services Academy.

Finland is an active provider of expert assistance

International civil protection operations refer to the provision of assistance to other countries and reception of assistance in Finland under international treaties and legislation. Such situations include natural or man-made disasters and incidents when the affected country lacks adequate resources. 

Finland participates in international civil protection operations through the European Union and international organisations, and in accordance with bilateral and multilateral international treaties.

The Ministry of the Interior decides on the provision of international assistance in the field of rescue services, that is civil protection. The Emergency Services Academy Finland is responsible for the training, recruitment and logistics of experts and the practical implementation of international civil protection operations.


Matti Inkeroinen (25 July–16 August)
Coordinator of International Rescue Operations 
Emergency Services Academy Finland
tel. +358 295 453 547

Tero Lähdesmäki (17 August–15 September)
Training Officer, international rescue operations
Emergency Services Academy Finland 
tel. +358 0295 453 430

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