Wildfires break out in southern Switzerland

The area on the south side of the Alps has not had any precipitation in over a month.

Above:  A privately owned helicopters works a wildfire near Soazza, Switzerland. Photo by Niklaus Watchman.

While much of Switzerland is covered with snow, wildfires have broken out on the south side of the Alps. Military helicopters, Super Pumas, are assisting the firefighters on the ground.

Below is an excerpt from an article at Swissinfo.ch:

More than 30 people have been evacuated from their houses due to forest fires in southern Switzerland. Strong winds and the ruggedness of the terrain are hampering efforts to contain the blaze.

The mountainous region south of the Alps hasn’t had any rain for more than a month.

Local fire brigades have been deployed to try to contain the blaze. The defence ministry said five army helicopters helped drop water for aerial firefighting on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, the blaze in the Mesocco Valley managed to spread across an area equivalent to 90 football fields due to dry conditions officials said.

The A13 San Bernardino motorway was temporarily closed and at least four people were evacuated as a precaution in the village of Mesocco. Police expects it will take several days or weeks to put out the fire. It is not known what started the fire on Tuesday.

A smaller fire was also reported from the neighbouring Calanca Valley on Wednesday.

wildfire soazza switzerland
Map showing the location of two fires in southeast Switzerland, December 28, 2016.

More information about the helicopters being used on the fires is at Fire Aviation.