Avalanche Canada, in partnership with Parks Canada, has issued a special public warning for recreational backcountry users across numerous forecast regions in B.C. and Alberta.
The special warning is in effect immediately and will apply through to the end of Sunday, Feb. 13 for the following regions: Sea to Sky, South Coast Inland, Cariboos, North and South Columbias, Kootenay-Boundary, Purcells, and Jasper and Glacier National Parks.
“Our main concern is a critical weak layer buried about 60 cm below the snow surface throughout these regions,” said James Floyer, Forecasting Program Supervisor for Avalanche Canada in a press release. “This layer is deep enough to produce large avalanches, yet shallow enough to be triggered by a human or machine. The forecast of warm temperatures and sun will contribute to this problem this weekend.”
According to Floyer, the weak layer is most active at treeline elevation where the forest opens up and gives way to the alpine.
“Under the current conditions, sparsely treed slopes do not provide protection from avalanches and could be even more dangerous due to the risk of being swept into trees,” said Floyer. “Lower angled slopes or densely forested areas, where the tree canopies are touching, will be better choices as long as they are not threatened by steep slopes from above.”
According to Avalanche Canada, backcountry users should always check their regional avalanche forecasts at www.avalanche.ca before heading out.
They state that everyone in a backcountry party needs the essential rescue gear (transceiver, probe, and shovel, etc) and the knowledge to use it.
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