Avalanche Canada is issuing a Special Public Avalanche Warning for recreational backcountry users, in effect immediately until the end of day Sunday, February 10.

The warning applies to the Purcells, South Rockies, North & South Columbia, Caribous, Glacier National Park, the Lizard Range and the North Rockies.

Senior Avalanche Forecaster Grant Helgeson says a weak layer at lower elevations makes for an unusual situation where the treeline is more dangerous than the alpine.

Many close-calls involving a weak layer in the treeline have been reported over the past few days according to Helgeson.

Smaller slopes like cut-blocks, road-cuts, gullies and openings in the trees are where the weak layer poses a problem and where it’s primed for human-triggered avalanches.

Avalanche Canada advises that everyone in a backcountry party have the essential rescue gear – transceiver, probe and shovel – and know how to use it.