Natural hazard risks in Chamonix


As every year, the municipality of Chamonix has published the “Dicrim” - the Municipal Information Document on Major risks. It has about 15 pages and it informs the population about the dangers (natural and technological risks) in Chamonix and how to prevent them, if possible.

Because it is a mountain area, Chamonix Valley is prone to avalanches. “There are 124 avalanche corridors that can reach the valley and 80 that can reach roads or homes”, as Jean-Louis Verdier, deputy safety officer of Chamonix commune.

The hamlets of Tour, Montroc, Planet, Biollay, Nants, Moussoux, Gaillands and Taconnaz are particularly known for their avalanche risks. Despite all the protective structures, some areas may be evacuated. The population will then be organised in groups and places of accommodation will be established by the town hall.

Avalanche in Chamonix, photo @
Floods in Chamonix, photo @
Snowstorm in Chamonix, photo @

In case of avalanches, most mountain sports are affected. Signaling flags will be used, to announce about the risks. Another safety rule is to get a detector of victims of avalanche (DVA), a shovel and a probe. It is very important to learn how to use them.

“The risk of flooding is almost equivalent to that of avalanche”, says Jean-Louis Verdier. The torrents are likely to overflow and cause considerable damage.

Chamonix is also prone to strong winds. These can bring serious destruction, like breaking trees. “People must be aware”, hopes the safety officer. Ground movements and earthquakes need to be taken into account, too.

Red zones on the map of Chamonix mark the areas where the land is subject to significant risks. They are quite many, so Jean-Louis Verdier is concerned about the inhabitants’ awareness of the real risks.

What is more, Chamonix Valley welcomes many tourists and newcomers, neophytes of the mountain. It is important that they are informed quickly and effectively.

Having set preventive and protective rules, the safety officer also states that people should be individually responsible, as authorities’ actions are not enough.


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