An avalanche in a Utah canyon on Sunday may have been the first human-caused slide of the year.
The avalanche was triggered at upper elevations in the Central Wasatch mountain range in Little Cottonwood Canyon near the “Main Chute” of Mt. Baldy, FOX13 Salt Lake City reported.
“Winter has arrived and human triggered avalanches are possible,” the Utah Avalanche Center said in a tweet.
“Hikers, hunters, runners and backcountry users alike, heads-up as we have shifted seasons and winter hazards are upon us,” the agency said.
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The avalanche comes a day after the area saw its first snowfall of the season, which the agency called a “good wake up call,” the station reported.
Avalanches pose a significant danger in Utah’s mountains between January and April during heavy snow accumulation and unstable snowpack conditions.
“Avalanches are definitely possible, and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is,” read a UAC forecast on Saturday. “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing – going for a hike, hunting, trying to ski or board, or snowshoe; be prepared for avalanches.”
“The main issue will be fresh deposits of wind-drifted snow that could produce slab avalanches,” the forecast continued. “However, in some places where 2-3 feet of snow may accumulate, the new snow alone may produce soft slab avalanches or sluffs of new snow.”
Last year, the agency recorded 7 avalanche fatalities in Utah.