Special avalanche warning issued for many BC interior ranges

The shaded areas are under a special avalanche warning until the end of Monday Jan

A special avalanche warning has been issued for recreational backcountry users in mountains stretching through south and central British Columbia.

James Floyer, Avalanche Canada's forecasting program supervisor, said that there have been a number of "near misses" reported over the past 10 days.

The warning was called because the snowpack contains a number of weak layers and recent snowfall has covered those vulnerabilities, bringing the unstable snowpack to a critical point.

"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.

"Those unsafe avalanche conditions have evolved after a weak layer developed in mid-December, and gradually we've been seeing the snow amounts increase on that weak layer and we've really reached a tipping point at this time". "The warmer temperatures forecast for the coming weekend will definitely increase the chances of triggering an avalanche", he said in a statement.

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There has been a lot of avalanche activity in the southeast corner of BC over the last few days.

It applies to the Lizard Range & Flathead, where an avalanche on Monday killed a backcountry skier from Calgary.

On the same day, Fernie Search and Rescue also rescued a missing timber biker in the Tent Mountain Area close to the Alberta border.

The agency said many have been in areas normally considered fairly safe. "These conditions require expert-level decision making skills and we recommend backcountry users avoid avalanche terrain". "The signs indicating you are exposed to avalanche terrain can be very subtle".

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