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Swissfire is the forest fire database of Switzerland, which has been developed in a joint effort by WSL and FOEN (Federal Office for the Environment). Now all information on forest fires is being collected in one central data base, which is an optimal tool for forest fire management.

Forest fire statistics are an important tool to forestry and fire services for planning fire fighting facilities and for optimising fire fighting strategies. Forest fire data can be applied for instance in following use cases:

  • determination of areas especially susceptible to forest fires
  • analysis of forest fire danger based on meteorology (danger index); as a decision making basis for issuing bans on fires; for organising emergency fire brigade standby services or helicopters when the danger of forest fires is acute
  • cause analysis to help optimize prevention measures
  • historical success analysis of changes within forest fire management strategies (new laws, technical development, organisation of the fire services)

In the present-day scenario of a changing climate it has become even more important to collect information on forest fires, even in those regions where fires rarely occur. This is the only approach which will provide the necessary data to analyse future changes of the fire regime in a consistent way.

In 2005 WSL started to create a forest fire database, in collaboration with some cantons (VS, UR, TI, GR). Based on the requirements of the FOEN (Federal Office for the Environment), this database has now been extended to a national level.


  • Pezzatti, B.; Conedera, M.; Kaltenbrunner, A., 2005: Die neue Waldbranddatenbank. Bündnerwald 58, 6: 37-39.   deutsch english
  • Jud, B.A.; Frank, Carmen, 1996: Ein Informationssystem für Waldbrände auf der schweizerischen Alpensüdseite. Schweiz. Z. Forstwes. 147, 12: 961-969.
  • Conedera M.; Marcozzi, M.; Jud, B., 1993: Banque de données sur les incendies de forêt au Sud des Alpes suisses. Proc. Symposium "Contribution of European Engineers to Reduction of Natural Disasters", 29.-30. Sept. 1993, Lausanne. 165-171.

Citation guideline for Swissfire

  • WSL Swissfire database, Switzerland.