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Fire and flames across the Alps

The first symbolic fire in the Alps was lit 30 years ago in order to draw attention to climate change. © Katharina Conradin

On 11 August 2018 the “Fire across the Alps” will be lighting up peaks and valleys for the thirtieth time. The idea behind the anniversary fires is to draw attention to climate change.

Permafrost is thawing, glaciers are melting, mudslides are carrying away villages and roads. The Alps represent a highly sensitive ecosystem that is especially vulnerable to global warming. This year's “high fires”, staged by three organisations whose aim is to protect the Alps – Alpen-Initiative, CIPRA and Mountain Wilderness Schweiz – will send a signal against the causes of climate change.

The first bonfires were lit in Switzerland in 1988. Today they inspire people across the entire Alpine arc, from Slovenia, via Vienna, as far as Nice; on remote mountain peaks and close to cities, each year fires are lit to encourage the preservation of the Alpine heritage and protest against the destruction of this sensitive ecosystem. Kaspar Schuler, since June 2018 Director of CIPRA International, has been a participant in “Fire across the Alps” from the very outset. Whether in his role as Alpine herdsman, environmental activist or spectator, Schuler believes that the fires are an opportunity to reaffirm his kinship with the Alps: “The fires not only draw attention to issues such as climate change and traffic congestion, they also bring people together and create a moving experience in an almost archaic setting”.

Come and join in!

It is not difficult to build a fire in solidarity. The location, events programme and themes can be freely chosen, but should support the idea of sustainable development. For more information and registration see www.feuerindenalpen.com.