Avalanche deaths highlight need for safe backcountry travel

Spokane — Over the past month, six people have died in avalanches in Washington state.

The normal 10-year average is 3.8 deaths, said Scott Schell, executive director of the Northwest Avalanche Center. The deaths highlight the importance of proper equipment, training and foresight when traveling in the backcounty, Schell said.

Although the full details of the deaths aren’t clear yet, Schell emphasized three basic things anyone can do to make backcountry travel safer.

♦ Get the avalanche forecast.

♦ Get…