Duties of the federal authorities

Plans and strategies

Even minor fires can impair the protective function of the forest. Due to climate change, weather conditions may be expected to arise that could cause an increase in forest fire danger. The FOEN develops plans and strategies for this eventuality in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) and the cantons.

Warning forest fire danger

The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) informs and warns in collaboration with the cantons.

Technical measures for preventing fires

The federal authorities support technical installations for the prevention of forest fires, for example fire water reservoirs, hydrant networks and barriers that can be used to dam streams rapidly.

Support after a forest fire

The FOEN can provide support to the cantons for reforestation and forest protection structures in the protective forest area.

Forest fire statistics

The number, areas affected by and causes of forest fires are recorded annually in the forest fire statistics. The WSL operates a Switzerland-wide forest fire database on behalf of the FOEN. This database provides important information for the management of forest fires. The data are also used for national and international reporting, e.g. to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). In addition, the FOEN ensures the cooperation with the European Commission’s Forest Fire Expert Group.

Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft (WSL): Swissfire


The FOEN also publishes the annual forest and wood statistical yearbook, which also contains information about forest fires.

Jahrbuch Wald und Holz – Chapter 2 (available in German and French)

Aluminium sign

Kein Feuer machen! Waldbrandgefahr - Aluminium sign format A4. 2000

Achtung - Attention - Attenzion: Waldbrände  - Aluminium sign format A4. 2000