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Severe risk of avalanches: CACPosted: February 24, 2012

The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) has issued a severe avalanche warning for most of B.C.’s backcountry. The warning covers the Rockies and Purcell Mountains.

The CAC today issued a special public avalanche warning for a widespread area of the province’s backcountry. The warning includes the mountainous areas of the Cariboos, the North and South Columbias, Kootenay-Boundary, the North and South Rockies, the Lizard Range, the Purcells, the South Coast Inland, Northwest Coastal and Northwest Inland regions. The warning is in effect from Friday February 24 through to Monday February 27.

“The clear, dry spell covering the province in early February had a weakening effect on the surface of the snow at that time,” explained Karl Klassen, manager of the CAC’s Public Avalanche Warning Services.

“Now that surface is buried and left us with a very complex upper snowpack, with a number of weak layers. Conditions are very tricky to manage right now. If you’re going into avalanche terrain, you need local knowledge, extensive experience and training.”

The CAC is advising all recreational backcountry users to carefully monitor the advice in the avalanche bulletins. Everyone in a backcountry party must be equipped with a shovel, probe and transceiver and the CAC strongly recommends all backcountry users take an avalanche awareness course. Snowpack stability changes constantly throughout the winter. Backcountry users need to check the avalanche bulletin regularly to keep informed of conditions in their area.

More detailed information is also available on the CAC forecaster’s blog. For the bulletins, blog and information on training, check www.avalanche.ca/cac.

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