CHETWYND, BC -- The first heavy snowfall of the year has put most of the South Peace region under a considerable avalanche danger.

The warning applies to the area around Pine Pass, the mountains near Tumbler Ridge, and west of Highway 29 up to Williston Lake. Danger ratings are moderate to low below the tree line, but higher in the alpine area.

40 to 80 centimeters of snow has accumulated at higher elevations. Wind slabs have also formed, but may not have bonded to the snowpack. Natural avalanches are possible, and human-triggered avalanches are likely.

Avalanche Canada advises anyone in the area to use caution, continuously evaluate the snowpack, and make conservative decisions under these conditions.

The danger rating in the alpine is expected to drop to moderate over the next few days.