# Blasting of avalanches: The weather must be according to

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Colonel Kühberger, you are the head of the “Rescue Coordination Center” of the Austrian Federal army and on the weekend, dozens of avalanches blow up. Why do you do that?

Stephan Löwenstein

Political correspondent for Austria and Hungary, with headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

F. A. Z.

To avalanches in a controlled departure. You can then block the roads, or building evacuation, before the avalanche. How big the is or exactly where the departure is, you can’t control, of course, completely, the power of the nature.

when is something like that possible?

you can do it only on point of view, must be the weather. The second is: We must come to a certain height, in order to reach the trip point of the avalanche. He should be as high as possible, usually 2000 to 2500 meters. When the clouds is under the limit at 1000 meters, we can not perform the. Then we would loss only the lower part of the avalanche of bursting, and the big part to come at some point.

And how to do this?

As a condition will always dug a snow profile. An avalanche warning Commission, the civilian specialists will be flown with the helicopter in the area at risk. You can either be roped with the winds. Or is it a land of opportunity in the vicinity, where there is no danger, but the structure of the snow is the Same. The layers to be evaluated, which could lead to an avalanche. Then, the amount of explosive is calculated.

Who is doing the blowing up?

There is officer own avalanche blasting, civil and military. In the area of the airfield will be prepared on the ground the explosive charge. It is calculated as the delay detonator can be set, with the helicopter from the endangered area again to get away. A maximum of six units per flight to be taken. In the upper area of the exposed slope, then multiple charges are placed so that you have a certain penetration depth into the snow, so the avalanche can be optimally blasted. Is used a special explosives called Lawinit.

How dangerous the charges are?

The detonator is applied in the machine immediately before the charge is drained or thrown. Especially on steep Slopes, we used a thin rope to the Place, so that you catch the point, you want to catch. Then we fly out of range of the explosive effect and watch the from the Size: came off the avalanche as we expected? You have to blow? Detonated all the charges? In the event of a misfire, a new explosive charge blows up the previously Incorrect. It may happen that a non-ignited charge remains in the snow and later a risk.

there Is a beep, before it blew up, as in the case of a quarry?

no, the location of the detonation, which is far from the effect of the avalanche. There is a Post below, the shut-off of ski slopes or roads on a large scale.

What is the helicopter you use?

With smaller helicopters, such as our Alouette-III, this is better, so that you don’t make a self-triggering of the avalanche. In our Black Hawk, the Downwash is due to the rotors. The one we use when we blow trees along roads or power lines, in order not to be damaged by the snow pressure.

Who pays for the missions, and who determines the priority?

The civil authority shall assess the needs and situation of Disaster. Through the country to warn of the assistance use of the Federal army is required. The countries will be made. In a coordination, the priority ranking is carried out on the basis of objective reasons: the first asked how high the avalanche warning level, where more people are at risk?

Do you see this in normal winters, when it’s not so much snow?

Yes, of course. This happens every Winter. In the summer, rather less.