Heatwave threatens August 1st fireworks

Heatwave threatens August 1st fireworks
Switzerland has enjoyed record temperatures this July and forests are drying out. File photo: AFP
While people all over Switzerland are enjoying a real summer for a change, the dry weather could put a damper on the country's national day festivities.

Fireworks are as much a part of Swiss National Day celebrations as trestle tables, sausages and flapping red and white flags.

But the scorching summer could take the crackle and fizz out of this year's party. Six cantons have already rolled out fire bans in and around forests with dry weather increasing the risk of blazes flaring.

The restrictions — already in place in Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Solothurn, Vaud, Valais and Grissons — also means fireworks and fires in designated outdoor fireplaces are a no-no.  

On Tuesday Schaffhausen also recommended that people shouldn't light fires in the open, NZZ reports.

A map showing the fire risk in Swiss cantons: the brown areas have the highest risk.

Information on the Swiss government's environment ministry website shows the fire danger is elevated across central Switzerland and that the risk is “high” on the central plateau and in Grissons. Vallais and parts of the Jura, meanwhile, are becoming tinder dry.

Anyone hoping for rain will have to wait a while longer too, with the dry weather set to continue for the foreseeable future. Temperatures will climb as high as 35C in the coming days before a brief respite on the weekend.

Then it will be 'business as usual' next week as a new heatwave arrives.

And with two weeks to come before Switzerland gets into party mode, there is plenty of time for the forest floor to dry out even further. That could mean further bans on fires and fireworks out in the open.

Switzerland has enjoyed record temperatures this July. Average temperatures for the first two weeks off the month are already above those seen in the blisteringly hot summer of 2003 when the average maximum for July was a very un-Swiss 32.7C.

In 2014, Switzerland introduced new legislation meaning those working with the most powerful type of fireworks must take a week’s course costing 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,250) and pass the exam at the end to gain a 'B permit'.

For a simpler fireworks display, a day course at 500 francs to achieve an 'A permit' will suffice.











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