The risk of forest fires in the foothills of the Alps is increasing sharply


According to a study, the risk of forest fires in the Alpine foothills will increase rapidly from 2040 due to climate change. Weather events that can cause forest fires that now occur every 100 years will occur every 30 years by 2050 and every decade by the end of the century.

In addition, weather conditions favorable to wildfires are predicted to occur earlier this year. Nowadays, the forest fire season often starts in June, later in May. The trend is clear, according to a statement from the Swiss Snow and Avalanche Research Institute SLF on Tuesday.

The number of days when the risk of forest fires is minimally high will more than double by the end of the 21st century. “Even in regions with a temperate climate, it will be necessary to prepare for forest fires in the future,” said lead author Julia Miller. She proposes measures such as water reservoirs for firefighting helicopters and warning signs to make locals aware of the danger.

Soil moisture suffers
According to the study, the reason for the increase is factors that increase the risk of forest fires, such as hot, dry and windy weather. Summer heat waves and droughts also reduce soil moisture and vegetation catches fire more easily.

To calculate the risk of forest fires, the researchers used the so-called Fire Weather Index (FWI). This assesses the risk of forest fires based on weather data and the flammability of fuels such as dead wood and dry leaves.

Source: Krone


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