Chugach National Forest prepares for avalanche season

Chugach National Forest prepares for avalanche season

November is Avalanche Awareness Month.

While the central peninsula has yet to see significant snowfall, November marks Avalanche Awareness Month, and the Chugach National Forest is preparing for avalanche season in Alaska’s backcountry.

“Our goal is to increase avalanche awareness on the Chugach National Forest through advisories and public outreach to reduce avalanche accidents and fatalities by providing information and advice on how to manage avalanche concerns on any given day,” Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center Director Wendy Wagner said in a Monday press release. “We tend to focus on slab avalanches, as they are the main type of avalanche that causes the most harm to people.”

Observations, forecasts and daily advisories for the backcountry will be available from the Information Center from November to April. Forest Service avalanche specialists work out of the Chugach National Forest Glacier Ranger District in Girdwood.

Snowboarders, skiers, snowshoers, snowmachine riders, hikers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts can stay safe by being prepared and avoiding dangerous situations.

To stay safe, the Chugach National Forest recommends avalanche awareness training, knowing and understanding the conditions, carrying rescue gear like an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe.

Most people caught in an avalanche actually trigger the slide as they travel on or beneath unstable snow, the release said.

Free information is provided by the Chugach National Forest to the public with the goal of reducing and preventing backcountry avalanche accidents.

Resources are available online at www.cnfaic.org.

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