Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is urging British Columbians to be careful when venturing out into the backcountry.
“The seemingly endless list of backcountry recreational opportunities is part of what makes British Columbia such an incredible place to live, work and play,” he said in a statement issued Wednesday. “This past long weekend, good weather and sunny skies drew many British Columbians outdoors. However, the risks in the backcountry at this time of year are high, and search and rescue volunteers were kept busy this weekend.”
From Saturday through Monday, search and rescue teams responded to 28 incidents throughout province. Volunteers rescued climbers, snowshoers, snowmobilers and a skier. Unfortunately, treacherous snow conditions also resulted in one fatality.
“This is a reminder that while the backcountry can be lovely, it can be lethal,” he said. “When planning to spend time outdoors, it is critical that enthusiasts make safety a top priority. Take the conditions into account, and be mindful of safety warnings, including those issued by Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada.
“Inform a friend, a neighbour or a loved one about where you are going and when you expect to return. Pack essentials — extra water, layers of clothing, a signaling device, a shelter and something to start a fire should you be caught overnight. If you become lost, signal for help and stay in one place. Unprepared hikers risk both their own lives and the lives of the volunteers and first responders tasked with search and rescue.
Planning ahead and taking the necessary precautions will help ensure that you return home safely.