Geographies of Disasters

Good fire: mushrooms emerge from the leaf-litter after a prescribed burn (photo by: C. Eriksen, 2023).

Wildfires (also known as forest or bush fires) pose an urgent yet unsolved social problem in Europe with more people living at-risk than ever before. This is due to a four-decade increase in the frequency, scale, and intensity of catastrophic wildfires in southern, central, and northern Europe alike.

The increasing cost and decreasing effectiveness of traditional wildland firefighting tactics due to land use, climate, and other changes have led to a hard won truth: emergency services cannot protect every single home that lie in the path of catastrophic wildfires. Communities therefore need to be prepared to act in an informed manner. This requires a scaling up of social solutions.

The Geographies of Disasters Group was established on 1 August 2023 to study social resilience to wildfires among at-risk communities in Europe. The Group is funded by a five-year Consolidator Grant awarded to Prof. Dr. Christine Eriksen by the Swiss National Science Foundation.


University of Bern | Institute of Geography | Geographies of Disasters | Hallerstr. 12 | CH-3012 Bern

Tel +41 31 684 88 57