Scorching heat, dry forests. Fires are not far away. Some countries are currently using firefighting aircraft. The fact that Germany does not have such available is absurd for CDU defense politician Otte. It is reminiscent of a fire in which the French flew to help.
The Vice Chairman of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag, Henning Otte, has called for the purchase of fire-fighting aircraft for use by the Bundeswehr in the event of a disaster. "Forest and wildfires like the ones currently in France can only be fought from the air - with fire-fighting aircraft, beyond the existing helicopters," said the CDU politician. "The federal government must finally act and equip or procure Bundeswehr transport aircraft in such a way that they can be used effectively to extinguish forest fires - even if that is not a core task of the armed forces."
Questions of responsibilities are secondary when it comes to the security of citizens, said Otte, who is also the spokesman for rural areas of the Union faction. In 2019, together with the then SPD member of the Bundestag Fritz Felsentreu, he campaigned for the purchase of firefighting aircraft without the initiative being implemented by the grand coalition.
"Every summer, forest fires threaten people in Germany and Europe. On France's west coast, the fires are destroying entire landscapes. Prolonged drought and increasing maximum temperatures increase the dangers, and civilian helpers are increasingly reaching their limits," said Otte. Germany must be "armed against large forest fires in an emergency". He spoke of a gap in protection that needed to be closed. During the great fire in his home region, the Lüneburg Heath, in 1975, French aircraft helped to fight the fire.