Cigarette could have caused forest fire in Hallstatt
HALLSTATT. Also on Wednesday, the firefighters fought the flames on the Echernwand via ferrata in Hallstatt (district Gmunden), and on Thursday the mission is to continue.
According to the commander of the district fire brigade of Gmunden Stefan Schiendorfer it would be too suspect due to aggravating circumstances, to say: we will extinguish today. The fire can for the time being be limited and limited.
The helpers placed themselves on a longer mission on Wednesday afternoon, the district fire chief of Gmunden Stefan Schiendorfer reported. Even in the evening there was no "fire out" in sight. On Thursday, the rate of fire will continue with helicopters from the federal army.
Whether the evacuation zone should eventually be extended is shown. Meanwhile, the armed forces are hoping for the announced rain.
On Wednesday evening, the first results of the investigations were available by the experts from the Upper Austria fire prevention agency. These suggest the assumption that the fire could have been caused by a sloppy discarded cigarette and informed the Landespolizeidirektion in the evening.
"Great air traffic" about Hallstatt
On Wednesday was "major air operations", described the fire service commander. Four helicopters from the federal army and the police flew water from Lake Hallstatt to the fire pit on the mountain and dropped it there. The daily permitted flight times of the pilots, who had been active since the morning, had expired in the afternoon. That is why it has started to replace the machines and their crews with others. Also with the "ground staff" of the fire brigade and mountain recovery was planned to call further help from the entire Gmunden district.
The situation at the fire location was largely unchanged. Because of the steep terrain it was not possible to fight the fire up close. Access to the foot of the wall was forbidden for safety reasons. Because rocks and rhizomes or trees fell down again and again. With the water that falls through the helicopters, "smaller things" can be removed, as Schiendorfer put it. But also burned down again and again, which fire falls into new places again.
Help salt workers
On the other hand, the protection of the forest above the stove works well with eight lances. They are managed by firefighters. These are secured by the mountain rescue with ropes. The fire extinguishing water comes from specially laid lines and a depot created on the mountain. The employees of the Salinen AG also inject water from the cable car on the Salzberg in the forest to prevent the fire from spreading. Wounded did not require the use – as far as the line was known – in the first instance.
The task force was already planning for Thursday on Wednesday afternoon. Because of the affected steep terrain, a quick "tapping of the situation" is not possible, Schiendorfer had to consider. For the time being, only an attempt can be made to prevent further spread of the fire.
Only announced for the weekend heavy rain could the fire under the surface of the forest floor completely extinguish. This must be waited for.
The fire was discovered on Tuesday – the OÖN reported. Influenced was the dry grass along the via ferrata much visited via ferrata. A smoldering fire with heavy smoke quickly developed in the steep terrain below the ground surface. The fire spread quickly.
Funicular and leave the mine closed
The Salzwelten Hallstatt were closed as a precautionary measure and remain so, the responsible Wednesday afternoon said. Affected are the Salzbergbahn, the mine and the shop in the valley station. Regarding how long the lock lasts, inform the Salzwelten stream on their website.
Employees from Salzwelten and Salinen Austria AG were working on Wednesday to secure the route of the Salzbergbahn. The hiking trails in Hallstätter Hochtal are also closed.
Entering the via ferrata was forbidden. First deletion attempts had to be canceled with the support of the mountain rescue on Tuesday. Several stones, rhizomes and burning tree trunks broke loose and dived into the depths. Because the injury risk was too great, the helpers had to retire.
Then the helicopters of the Ministry of the Interior, the federal army and a private company were asked. The crew took water from Lake Hallstatt and threw it over the fire. In addition, a few hundred meters long fire-extinguishing water pipe was laid at the exit of the via ferrata on the salt mountain and a water and material depot was created. Tuesday evening the fire department was still optimistic to get the fire under control.
Boulder collapsed into the garden
Overnight flights were canceled. In addition, a house was evacuated at the foot of the wall. How correct this measure was, turned out in the morning: a boulder in the size of a table had fallen into his garden and rolled to the building. The location was re-examined in daylight. It showed that the fire had spread and was further fueled by the rising sun with the resulting thermals.
In consultation with the geologist and torrent and avalanche control, the evacuation of other houses was ordered. Because when fire-extinguishing water hits the rocks heated by the fire, this splinter and the fragments fall into the depths, Schiendorfer describes.
Nine fire brigades in action
In total, nine fire brigades were moved with more than 70 helpers, as well as 20 mountain rescue workers and police officers. From the top of the ridge eight nozzles were used to prevent the fire from spreading to the top of the forest from below. Four helicopters from the federal army and the Ministry of the Interior flew again with firefighting operations. The employees of Saline Austria splashed water along the cable car to protect this and the spot beneath it.
video: The fire department has been under way since Tuesday
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