Vienna bans barbecues in public parks as experts warn of forest fire risk

The Local Austria
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Vienna bans barbecues in public parks as experts warn of forest fire risk
Steak and green vegetables on a barbecue. Photo by Edson Saldaña auf Unsplash

As of Tuesday, grilling in Vienna's designated barbecue areas is forbidden to the increased risk of forest fires, with fines of up to €7,300 levied on people who break the rules.


With sweltering highs of 34C expected in the coming week, residents in the Austrian capital may well have been making plans to engage in one of the country's favourite summer pastimes: Grillen

But with the spell of dry, hot weather and unusually low rainfall this summer, Vienna has issued an immediate ban on barbecuing in public in order to reduce the risk of forest fires.

In a statement released on its website, the council announced that all of the city's Grillplätze - or barbecue zones - would be closed to the public "until further notice". 

Stringent checks will be carried out in the barbecue areas around the Donau, near Vienna's forests and in Draschepark to ensure people are abiding by the rules, with fines of up to €7,300 for those found to be breaking them. 

Barbecuing in private gardens will still be allowed, as long as the property is outside of the forest fire risk areas. However, authorities have urged the city's residents to be "especially careful" when grilling due to the current heat and drought. 

READ ALSO: Barbecues, nudity and smoking: What am I allowed to do on my balcony in Austria?

The city has also issued a blanket ban on smoking, handling lights and open fires and igniting any kind of flame in the forests and forest fire danger zones around them. 

It remains unclear when the smoking and barbecue bans will be lifted, though the city said it is waiting for the next bout of "sustained rain  showers" and that the rules would apply until the ban is revoked.

The barbecue season in Vienna runs from March 31st to October 29th this year. 

Effects of climate change

The latest move from Vienna's council marks the second time in recent years that the city has issued a ban on barbecues to protect its natural landscape.

Last year, unusually low rainfall over in spring added to fears of forest fires. 


Both Vienna and Lower Austria took action to forbid barbecuing in public areas, with €7,270 fines and threats of up to four weeks imprisonment set as penalties for breaking the law. 

READ ALSO: Smoking cigarettes in Austrian forests could cost you €7,270

As climate change leads to hotter, drier summers and higher levels of drought, experts have warned that the risk of forest fires is on the rise in the Alpine nation.

In the decade from 2011 to 2021, Austria was hit by an average of 220 wildfires in forests per year - up from an average of 130 per year in the previous decade. 


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