A special public avalanche warning issued on Thursday has since expanded to include the South Rockies and Lizard Range regions, as warm weather is expected for the weekend.
According to Avalanche Canada officials, higher temperatures and sunshine will likely have a destabilizing effect on the snowpack.
“There are persistent weak layers in the mountain snowpack across most of southern BC and western Alberta,” said James Floyer, Forecasting Program Supervisor for Avalanche Canada. “This special warning targets regions where these layers have proven to be an issue. The combination of this snowpack structure and higher temperatures will make natural and human-triggered avalanches much more likely.”
The special warning applies to a large area in B.C. and stretched into mountain ranges in Alberta. The alert will be in place until at least Monday.
More: map of affected areas (Avalanche Canada)
According to Avalanche Canada officials, there have been several close calls recently, with many large avalanches reported.
“There is a lot of uncertainty with these weak layers,” said Floyer. “While we have targeted an area where we think there is a higher risk of triggering these deep weak layers, we also urge backcountry users in adjacent regions to exercise caution during this warming period.”
Those travelling into the backcountry are urged to bring essential rescue gear, including a transceiver, probe and shovel.
Regional avalanche forecasts can be found below.
More: Avalanche Canada