Special public avalanche warning issued for Bulkley Valley

Main concern for Canadian Avalanche Centre forecasters is warm temperatures

Record-breaking warm temperatures have led the Canadian Avalanche Centre to release a special public avalanche warning for much of the province, including the Bulkley Valley region, starting Jan. 17 and ending Monday.

This warning applies to all recreational backcountry users.

The main concern is sun and warm and possibly record-breaking temperatures that will destabilize a complex and highly variable snowpack leading to surface slides, explained CAC public avalanche warning service manager Karl Klassen.

In addition to smaller surface slides during the coming warm spell, we have the potential for very large natural and human-triggered avalanches failing deep in the snowpack throughout the weekend,” he said. “We’re concerned about ‘blue sky syndrome’ this weekend. It’s common to have a false sense of security in good weather and this weekend that could lead to underestimating the hazard.”

The CAC recommends recreational backcountry users with little or no avalanche training or experience avoid avalanche terrain or undertake activities in which avalanche risk is managed by professionals.

Experienced backcountry users are urged to travel on simple terrain such as small, low angle, well-supported features with no large, steep slopes or cornices above. When temperatures are warmest and especially if the sun is out, all avalanche terrain should be avoided, including valley bottom runout zones, the CAC said.