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Avalanche warning issued for BC interior areas

Avalanche warning issued for BC interior areas

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REVELSTOKE, B.C. A Special Public Avalanche warning was issued Thursday, Jan. 11 for a large area of the B.C. interior, due to weak layers in the snow pack.

There were a number of "near misses" involving backcountry users just in the past week, Avalanche Canada revealed.

The snowpack in these areas contains a number of weak layers. But on Monday, one Calgary man died while backcountry skiing near Fernie, B.C. Those layers are now buried up to a metre under the new snow, Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada explained in a release.

"We've issued the special public avalanche warning in response to some very unsafe avalanche conditions", said James Floyer, forecasting program supervisor for Avalanche Canada.

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"We've really reached a tipping point just in the last couple of days where we've seen very large avalanches, some unsafe avalanches in unusual areas such as in the trees and in low angle terrain, which makes it really quite hard and quite risky for people to manage travel in avalanche terrain safely", Floyer said.

The seven regions in the special warning are the Cariboos, Glacier National Park, both South and North Columbia regions, the South Rockies, Purcell Mountains, Kootenay Boundary and the Lizard Range.

That includes low-angled and treed terrain, as well as heavily tracked slopes, he said. "The warmer temperatures forecast for the coming weekend will definitely increase the chances of triggering an avalanche", he said in a statement.

The non-profit organization said there have been a number of near misses reported over the past seven to 10 days, as well as a fatal avalanche accident north of Fernie on January 8.

"Those are quite unusual conditions and then they're quite unsafe for people to manage, and so unless people have professional level training and safety systems in place, we really are recommending that people avoid avalanche terrain at this time", said Floyer.


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