In the Institute of Silviculture at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, the occurrence, spread, causes and characteristics of forest fires in Austria have been analysed as part of various research projects since 2008. The array stretches back over several decades and includes approximately 5,500 fires, more than 4,000 of which were categorised as forest fires. The majority of forest fires were recorded in spring and summer. Parts of Carinthia, Tyrol, Styria, and the southern regions of Lower Austria were comparably highly affected by forest fires. Most of the fires were caused by human actions. These were either direct, caused by an out-of-control fire, or indirect, e.g. by a carelessly discarded cigarette. In the summer months, fires caused by lightning also play a role as they make up 40% of the total. Many forest fires are investigated in more detail as case studies in order to analyse fire behaviour, the mortality of individual trees affected and the regeneration of forests.
In spring 2013, the Institute of Silviculture created an online platform that enables easy collection and analysis of forest fires that is not dependent on systems. The “Fire Database” web GIS application is available for free and allows interested members of the public to scan forest fire incidents and create statistics or graphics. Similarly, current or past forest fires can be recorded through an online entry form.