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West Midlands firefighters helping to battle devastating Greece wildfires

West Midlands firefighters have been flown out to Greece to help battle wildfires that are devastating the country.

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Wildfires have devastated Greece, destroying at least 150 homes

A small group has joined crews from London, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Wales in heading out to Athens to assist the Greek authorities in attempting to bring the crisis under control.

Wildfires have swept across the country following the most severe heatwave in 30 years, which has seen temperatures have soared to 45C (113F). Strong winds are expected to spark more fires.

The fires have already led to 150 homes being destroyed and villages evacuated.

This National Resilience Team - acting on behalf of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) – has responded to a request from the Home Secretary to learn what operational assistance the UK could offer to Greece.

Those heading to Greece from West Midlands Fire Service include watch commander, technical rescue Shyam Rana, who is serving on his 4th National Deployment. Previous deployments include the Bosnia floods.

Lee Howell, also a watch commander, is joining him, undertaking his first national deployment.

Russ Gauden is the deputy team leader on the Greece mission. He is a West Midlands officer who is seconded to Merseyside.

Phil Loach, chief fire officer for West Midlands Fire Service said: “We are proud to be working in conjunction with the NFCC on this National Resilience Deployment, helping with what has been truly devastating for the Greek people.

"Our thoughts are with those who have lost possessions, homes and sadly in some cases, their lives. We will continue to offer assistance with any additional requests from the NFCC where we can lend our expertise."

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