Wildfires in southern Switzerland: what exactely happened here?

Waldbrände in der Südschweiz: was genau ist hier passiert?

Wildfire Mesocco, Switzerland

Wildfire Mesocco, Switzerland patches of burnt forest floor

Several extensive and fast spreading forest fires rage in southern Switzerland, the first of them started on Tuesday night, Dec. 27th, 2016 in the mountains above the towns of Mesocco and Soazza, in the canton of Grison, Switzerland. One more forest fire started in the nearby Calanca valley. A further wildfire in the Leventina valley several dozend kilometers distance was immediately declared to be caused be a campfire of four careless teenagers. No particular causes other then dry conditions and wilds have been proposed for the other two locations. (winds were indeen moderate on site, no high wind speeds were recorded in the models of the Meterological Institute)  Here are a few images, all taken on the 28th, at the lower edges of the damage area above Mesocco, where a few spots of forest floor were still smoldering but no trees had been scorched. The patches of black soot seem to have been caused by water being dropped from fire fighter helicopters that were provided by the military, possibly washing ash out of the sky, as the fire in the higher altitudes were consuming large numbers of trees. However, it is noteworthy that this usually does not leave sharply divided patches of blackened ground and the blackend leaves and soil were completely dry. No twigs near the ground were scorched in this area, isolated tree roots were smoldering, surounded by white ash.  Acording to reports by the newspaper Tagesanzeiger, several houses were evacuated due to rock falls. All in all, the scene of the lower area of the fires appear to be the result of an influx of energy or fire accelerants form above, reminiscent of the accounts of the Peshtego and Chicago fires of 1871.

Wildfire Mesocco, Switzerland

Wildfire Mesocco, Switzerland, scattered remaining fires

bildschirmWildfire Mesocco, Switzerlandfoto-2016-12-28-um-23-51-26

Wildfire Mesocco, Switzerland, smoldering tree root, all surrounding trees and bushes intact

Forestfire Mesocco, blackened ground

Forestfire Mesocco, blackened ground all surrounding trees intact

Wildfire Mesocco, Switzerland

Wildfire Mesocco, Switzerland isolated patches of burnt forest floor


Wildfire Mesocco, soil and leavese burnt, dry grass left intact


Wildfire Mesocco, burnt forest ground

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