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Officials warn of increased avalanche danger on San Francisco Peaks

Josh Langdon/Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center
The snow-covered San Francisco Peaks.

Coconino County Sheriff’s officials are urging those venturing out in the backcountry of the San Francisco Peaks to be alert for potential avalanches and other winter hazards.

Heavy snowfall brought five feet of snow to many high-elevation areas and no avalanche mitigation is conducted outside the boundaries of Arizona Snowbowl.

Officials say those in the backcountry should carry rescue equipment including a shovel, rescue beacon, probe and other survival gear like a compass, map and headlamp.

They also say people shouldn’t travel alone and that rescue can take a long time in remote areas.

According to the Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center, the recent snowfall has increased the danger of avalanches near and above tree line at about 10,000 feet and corniced and wind-loaded slopes steeper than 30 degrees should be avoided along with steep gullies and canyons.