The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Expert of the Forest: Steep Terrain and Wind Act Like a Chimney.

The steep terrain in the forest fire area in the Upper Valais, combined with the dryness and the persistent wind, is accelerating the rapid spread of the fire, according to an expert. Waldbrandexperte Marco Conedera of the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape WSL said that the dryness in the Upper Valais combined with the wind is a "poisonous cocktail" to increase the risk of forest fires. The wind further increases the dryness by evaporating the moisture in the vegetation. In such conditions, even small fires can quickly get out of control. According to the WSL, 90% of forest fires in Switzerland are caused directly or indirectly by humans. Unsafe behaviour such as discarded smoking materials, poorly extinguished fires or hot catalysts from cars or motorcycles left in the forest, as well as arson, can cause fires. In the summer, lightning also leads to forest fires. In the period from 2000 to 2022, the WSL Waldbrandatenbank Swissfire recorded an average of 108 forest fires per year in Switzerland, burning an average of 157 hectares per year, which is equivalent to about 220 football fields. In recent years, however, there have been some outliers. In 2018, with a pronounced dry summer, there were 162 reported forest fires, and last year there were 113. The risk of forest fires has been exacerbated in the last 30 years by prolonged dry periods and warmer temperatures, increasingly affecting forests north of the Alps. In the 2020 National Risk Analysis report, drought was one of the top 10 risks in Switzerland, while forest fire was one of the most common natural hazards.


Most Read

Delivery Services in Switzerland Have New Competition

22 February 2024
Delivery service
An Austrian company opens it's first online supermarket outside the country. Targeting the greater Zurich area.

Murder in Frauenfeld: Trial for the Murder of an Egyptian

22 February 2024
Murder in Frauenfeld
Two men face murder charges over the 2007 killing of a 27-year-old Egyptian, whose body was discovered submerged in Barchetsee.

Swiss Semi-Conductor Government Initiative: Will it Work?

23 February 2024
Swiss semiconductor
SwissChips Initiative represents Switzerland's strategic move to bolster its semiconductor industry amidst global competition.

Swiss CEO Vranckx Moves to the Lufthansa Executive Board

23 February 2024
Swiss CEO
Swiss CEO Dieter Vranckx moves to Lufthansa as Chief Commercial Officer, after leading Swiss through challenging times.

Stay in Touch!


Swiss biotech
Swiss Biotech Firm Idorsia: Stock Soars – but Why?
26 February 2024
Decathlon Opens 5 more Stores in Switzerland
26 February 2024