The lack of rainfall in Switzerland has reached a critical point warned Swiss Meteo this week. Switzerland has had very little rain since the end of December 2021, said the weather service, something made apparent by the low water level in rivers.
The authorities have called on the public to not throw cigarette butts or matches on the ground and to not light fires in or near forests.
The lack of precipitation has led to high fire risk in forests across Switzerland, especially in the cantons of Uri, Ticino and Graubunden. Fires in these regions are banned. The fire risk level in these regions is currently at level 4. At this level, burning matches, flying sparks from barbecue fires and lightning will very probably ignite a fire that will spread fast. Fires in these conditions are difficult to extinguish and command extensive resources, according to the Federal office for the environment (FOEN).
In Valais, and pre-Alpine regions the risk of forest fire is high also and a high level of caution is needed. As a general rule, the population is advised not to make any fires outdoors. Permanent fire places (concreted base) in locations designated by the authorities can be used with the utmost caution. Do not make fires in strong winds.
The fire bans were issued by FOEN. More information on them can be found here.
In addition to fire risk, the water level in rivers in mountain resorts is 25% lower than normal. And temperatures are already at a level not typically reached until the end of April.
According to current forecasts, some much needed rain is predicted to fall across Switzerland from the middle of next week.