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Predicting forest fires

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Our early warning systems Fireless2 and FireNiche help to estimate the danger of forest fires. The database Swissfire allows to investigate future forest fire scenarios and to prepare for them.

 

FireNiche: Statistical method for risk assessment

To overcome the limitations of individual forest fire indications, WSL in Bellinzona has developed a method whereby several indications are combined in a model which is tailored to local circumstances. FireNiche calculates the current danger level by combining index values and weather information with statistical data from long-term forestry statistics, such as the Swissfire database.

Swissfire database assists with the examination of future forest fire scenarios

Dealing with changes in climate and land use poses a challenge when it comes to predicting forest fires. Various studies focus on changes in fire regimes, i.e. the intensity, seasonality and frequency of forest fires. For the benefit of future forest fire management, researchers seek to identify the factors that lead to larger or more frequent fires. This enables accurate medium-term forecasts to be produced regarding the risk of forest fires in different areas.

To predict future forest fires, meteorological data such as precipitation, temperature and wind are estimated for certain areas and compared with the weather conditions surrounding previous forest fires from the Swissfire database. In turn, knowledge of a greater risk of forest fires in the future serves as a basis for targeted training for firefighters and the planning of infrastructure, such as hydrant networks and water points for firefighting helicopters.

 

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