Avalanche warning issued for Western Canada

Avalanche Canada is warning backcountry explorers to be prepared for an increased avalanche risk due to record-high temperatures forecast for the week.

Avalanche Canada says backcountry users often underestimate risks during clear weather

Avalanche Canada is warning backcountry users about avalanche risks due to warmer temperatures. (Avalanche Canada/Vimeo)

Avalanche Canada is warning backcountry users to be prepared for an increased avalanche risk due to record-high temperatures forecast for the week. 

The warning applies from the Yukon to the U.S. border, from the Pacific to the Rockies through to April 1. 

"We're expecting this weather to have a big impact on the snowpack," said warning service manager Karl Klassen in a written statement.

"Given that many slopes have yet to see a full-blown warm up, we are predicting a widespread and varied array of avalanche problems this week including cornice failures, surface-layer avalanche and failure on deeper persistent weak layers."

Klassen said people often underestimate hazards and fail to appropriately manage risk on clear, sunny days. 

Avalanche Canada is advising those heading out to the backcountry to completely avoid avalanche terrain later in the day when temperatures rise. 

"Starting trips in the morning when it's still cold and before the sun rises, with the goal of being out of avalanche terrain by early afternoon at the latest, is a good risk-management strategy," Klassen said.

The organization says all backcountry users should have an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel, in addition to having taken a two-day avalanche training course. 

Fourteen people have died in avalanches in Canada this year — 13 of them in B.C.

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