Snow and Avalanche Center 2018 Avalanche News

New Infrared Binoculars Help Colorado Attack Avalanches Ahead Of Time
December 29, 2018

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation is taking a new approach in avalanche mitigation work to increase safety along Colorado highways. Infrared technology is being used to not only make avalanche mitigation work more efficiently, but safer.

“These are pretty significant avalanche paths, and there’s a lot of traffic on these roads so we are constantly looking at ways that we can be better and we take it really seriously,” said Jamie Yount, CDOT’s Avalanche Program Manager.

CDOT now owns two pairs of infrared binoculars which will enable them to limit traffic interruptions and work at night.

“We’ve been really impressed with the results we’re getting with the thermal imaging,” said Yount. “Hopefully the traveling public won’t even know that we’re out there doing mitigation because we’ll be all done by the time they need to get where they’re going.”

Yount says the avalanche department of CDOT is a small operation, but contracts and works daily with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to forecast conditions and mitigate risks.

“The whole idea is that we’re trying to release these avalanches when we want them to go and not just let a large storm come through and release them on their own,” said Ethan Greene, Director of the CAIC.

“It’s really cool I mean there’s a lot of things that we get to see through those thermal imaging devices.” Not only does it ensure there are no people or animals in the slide path, it also shows them more information about each avalanche. “How big they are, how far they’re running, how much of the slope of is releasing. These devices allow us, or help us see all of that.”

Avalanche IR Image

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