Soldiers Decorated For Helping Fight Wildfire in České Švýcarsko

Defence Minister Jana Cernochova praised the role of military personnel in fighting the fire. Credit:

Prague, Aug 19 (CTK) – Defence Minister Jana Cernochova (ODS) has awarded decorations to soldiers who intervened in the destructive fire in the České Švýcarsko National Park, in a ceremony today at the Prague Kbely air base.

Cernochova and Chief-of-Staff Karel Rehka thanked them for their intervention, which involved pouring almost four million litres of water on the burning site from helicopters.

While extinguishing the fire, the army used its Sokol and MI-17 helicopters equipped with “Bambi buckets.” The soldiers were flying for some 226 hours in total, over 19 days. The army also sent its unit with a refuelling vehicle to the site.

“We are gathered here to thank you for your incredible service in Hrensko,” the minister told the soldiers, noting that the unit joined the operations during vacations. She also praised their ability to certify a large borrowed Bambi bucket for use in such a short period of time.

The helicopter-operating units worked at the limits of their physical strength, as well as the technical capabilities of the machines, said air force deputy commander Petr Lanci.

One of the pilots described the intervention as extremely demanding both mentally and physically.

The fire in České Švýcarsko, which broke out 27 days ago, was the biggest in the history of the Czech Republic, affecting an area of ​​about 1,060 hectares. On some days, over 1,000 firefighters were involved in the operation to control the fire.

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