Piton de la Fournaise eruption, safety rules change

Piton de la Fournaise eruption, safety rules change

The ORSEC “Volcano” plan is evolving. Conditions for public access to the enclosure are restricted during the awakening phase, large ramps can be reopened during the eruption phase and the bottom of the enclosure can be reopened prior to reconnaissance. the details.

After several months of work, a new version of the ORSEC “Volcan” plan was created. The authorities indicate that the new device aims to ensure the safety of people by modifying access to the site, due to the frequency of eruptions and the unpredictability of the volcano, so as to make traffic more fluid and manage gatherings more effectively.

The Governor of Reunion, the Volcanic Observatory of Piton de la Fournaise, and the local communities have worked to review the specific regulator for the civil security response to the volcano. Since November 8, 2021, the prefectural decree has changed in the following points:

  • While awake: access to the top of the enclosure is limited to 3 designated paths for unaccompanied visitors. Outside of these trails, the public must be accompanied by either medium or high mountain guides.
  • In the volcanic phase (Alert Level 1 and 2), public access to the top of the enclosure, large rapids and the lower part of the enclosure is prohibited.
  • During the protection phase and before field surveys are conducted in the upper part of the enclosure, the lower part can be reopened to the public.
  • Regulatory measures for traffic management and parking as well as signage work, will be implemented jointly with the respective communities.
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Conditions of access while awake

The awakening phase is activated when the volcano shows signs of activity such as earthquakes, crater swelling, and gas emissions, corresponding to a deep magma chamber resupply. An outbreak can occur within a few weeks to several months. Since 2016, this stage has been permanently activated at the end of each eruption.

During this phase and since 2014, public access to the enclosure has been limited to three specific trails, in order to be able to quickly locate users and facilitate their evacuation in the event of a volcanic eruption. From now on, during the awakening phase, the conditions of access will be different for the accompanied and unaccompanied audience:

For unaccompanied visitors: Access to the top of the fence is still limited to three hiking trails:

  • Pas de Bellecombe Trail – Formica Léo – Rivals Trail – Caubet Crater;
  • Pas de Bellecombe Trail – Formica Léo – access road to the Dolomieu crater observation site (Northern Access);
  • Kapoor Trail to Peyton Kapoor.

For people accompanied by Medium Mountain Guides (AMM) and High Mountain Guides (GHM): Access to the top of the enclosure is permitted outside of the trails, except for a certain number of sectors deemed hazardous (areas not covered by phone coverage Allow calling 112 or receiving SMS alerts of the province, as well as areas with special geological hazards known to mountain professionals).

Conditions for access in the volcanic phase (possible eruption and eruption in progress)

Public access to the Piton de la Fournaise container is prohibited during the eruption phase (Alert Level 1 and Alert Level 2). This access ban relates to the top of the enclosure, large ramps, and the lower part of the enclosure except for the RN2.

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Only individuals assigned to certain science missions, rescue, information for hikers, extension, and insurance can now access the enclosure during Level 1 and 2 alert phases, permanently or temporarily, depending on the individuals involved.


© Indian Ocean Region Staff

Reopen the bottom of the container during the backup phase

The backup phase occurs when the eruption is over. It should be allowed to return to the waking phase in complete safety. Field survey is conducted with experts (BRGM, OVPF, ONF) in order to determine the absence of danger to the general public.

As of the transition to the protection phase, the Prefectural Ordinance may allow access to the bottom of the enclosure, prior to field reconnaissance, on the advice of the OVPF.

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