Avalanche safety, prevention focus of Simon Fraser University research in B.C.

An avalanche neart Mt. Everest in the Himalayas. (Wikimedia).

VANCOUVER — A university in Burnaby, B.C., is expanding research into avalanche safety in an effort to determine how the deadly slides could be prevented.

Simon Fraser University has appointed an assistant professor from its environment faculty to take on the newly created position of research chair in avalanche risk management.

Pascal Haegeli works in the faculty's school of resource and environmental management and will receive about $1 million in funding over the next five years.

Haegeli says he wants to understand how avalanche hazards are best managed so people know when it's safe to be in the backcountry.

He says victims cause about 90 per cent of avalanche accidents.

The slides kill an average of 12 people in Canada every year, and about 80 per cent of the fatalities happen in B.C.

The Canadian Press

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