The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Glutnest, Smoldering and Log Fires in the Forest Fire Area near Bitsch.

The forest fire in Bitsch in the Oberwallis region of Switzerland has not yet been brought under control on Friday morning. Numerous embers, smouldering and standing fires pose a great danger. If the wind picks up again, the situation could quickly worsen. Thanks to the lack of wind, the night passed relatively peacefully, according to Franz Mayr, the information officer of the Bitsch municipal command staff. 20 firefighters were mainly occupied with monitoring. The fire has not spread further. Mayr is concerned about the weather forecast. The predicted thunderstorms could contribute to extinguishing the fire, but the predicted gusts of wind could reignite the fire. With the rain, there is also an increased risk of mudslides due to the large amount of ash. Mayr could not describe the fire as under control on Friday morning. This will only be the case when all sources of danger that the wind could reignite are eliminated. The Super Puma helicopter of the army flew over the fire area again at 6 a.m. with a thermal imaging camera. The thermal imaging surveillance will be maintained for a few more days. Five to six helicopters will continue to fly extinguishing missions throughout the day. Around 80 firefighters will once again enter the area. Their task is difficult and dangerous due to the ground temperature of still 200 degrees, which can melt shoe soles. The danger is further increased by falling trees and large rockfall. The main focus of the fire fighters on Friday is the Ried-Mörel road, which remains closed. Here a risk assessment will be carried out. Ried-Mörel is still accessible by cable car to the Riederalp, but its inhabitants are dependent on transport and the work route on the road. The approximately 50 inhabitants of the hamlet of Oberried remain evacuated. The forest fire broke out on Monday evening.

©Keystone/SDA

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