Protection against natural hazards
In mountainous Austria, natural hazards are a safety risk in many regions: Floods, mudflows, avalanches, slope movements and rock falls are threatening people, their living environments, their settlements and economic areas, transport routes, supply lines, and infrastructure. With the growing demands on prosperity and quality of life also the need for safety and protection of the population increases.
Risk communication: information portal on natural hazards
The www.naturgefahren.at internet platform offers users varied and updated information on natural hazards in Austria.
Hazard Zone Plan – What is that?
The Hazard Zone Plan is an instrument to represent hazards in various catchment areas. The Hazard Zone Plan, briefly also HZP, is prepared by the staff members of the Federal Forest Engineering Service in Torrent and Avalanche Control.
Living with natural hazards
In Austria, many inhabited areas are affected by natural hazards. Floods, mudflows, avalanches or rockfalls are dangerous to humans and can damage the environment, properties, and economic assets.
Together with other phenomena (snow pressure, snow glide, snow drifts) avalanches represent the complexity of snow processes. Across Austria, there are about 100 avalanche catchment areas. Austria’s torrent and avalanche control takes various measures to protect people and infrastructure against avalanches.
Rockfall and slides
Rockfall can be due to weathering processes, frost wedging, movement of tree roots, or the triggering of a "rock avalanche" by humans and animals. Slides are in most cases triggered by heavy and/or long-lasting precipitation.
Torrents and mudflows
Torrents and mudflows have enormous destructive potential. There are about 12,000 torrent catchment areas in Austria. The Austrian torrent and avalanche control plans and implements protective measures in this field. The present article provides information on those two natural hazards.
die.wildbach in Austria
The Austrian Service for Torrent and Avalanche Control is a Federal Institution of the Republic of Austria.
www.schutzwald.at – a new website around the topic protective forest
The website “www.schutzwald.at” launched in March 2020 informs comprehensively about the protective forests in Austria, provides exciting, informative, and partly also surprising new insights, and bundles the available Know-how.
The protective functions of forests are indispensable to protect the living and economic space of Alpine valleys against various natural hazards, such as avalanches, mudflows, rock fall, and landslides.
Forest fires in Austria
In Austria most fires are caused by humans (anthropogenic), with the reason for the ignition being unknown for more than half of them. The number of fire events in Austria per year varies between 100 and 300. Forest fires are burning typically areas of up to 1 hectare – major fires, however, are presently still rare in Austria.
Current information on forest fires and risks
The internet offers a wealth of information on forest fire events. Where there is actually a risk of forest fire, how many forest fires have already occurred in Austria, what kind of information is available at international level, and many other things can be found here.
Forest Fire Prevention
The prevention includes all preventive measures to avert forest fires, the intervention comprises all means and includes combating events and the management is subdivided into damage management and post-disaster recovery. Therefore, the information about a potential forest fire risk all preventive measures and the correct behaviour in case of drought is of special importance.
Biber Berti explains: Natural hazards in winter and protection against avalanches
Who doesn’t love the first snowflakes of the year and who is not looking forward to building a snowman, to go tobogganing or skiing? Nature is protected by a soft snow cover against severe coldness and the soil gets enough humidity for our drinking water. Snow is something wonderful, but it can also become dangerous. Biber Berti and his friends are frolicking in the snow-covered weather valley.
Biber Berti with Safety on Tour
The Safety Tour is a kind of Safety Olympic Games for children of the Austrian Civil Defence Association of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Every year 50,000 children from the 4th class of primary school from all over Austria are participating in it.