Recent winter storms have brought an abundance of snow and ice to the higher elevations of the Angeles National Forest. Although these winter conditions are a welcomed improvement to the severe drought conditions, there are additional safety concerns for visitors to plan for.

Whether visitors are coming to trek through the high-country trails or enjoy some snow-play fun with the family, the US Forest Service, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, strongly encourages folks to have a plan before visiting the alpine-like conditions.

To put it simply: Be Prepared. Evan a simple day trip to play in the snow can end up being a life-or-death situation if you get stuck on the mountain.

“We had a significant amount of [recent] snowfall in the higher elevations,” said Sgt. John Gilbert from the Sheriff’s station in Crescenta Valley. “It didn’t go as low as it sometimes does but were it did get snow there was a significant amount.”

Gilbert said the public should also be aware of that with approaching warmer temperatures, “that snow can get melted and refrozen overnight several times,” creating problems for vacationers and travelers in the higher elevations.

Here several tips on being prepared for traveling and maneuvering in the national forest the next few weeks:

— Have snow chains and a full tank of gas for your vehicle;

— keep survival kits that include flashlights, sun screen, first-aid kits and knives, as well as emergency blankets and tents

— fire-starting equipment;

— extra food, extra water and extra clothes.

Be prepared to spend a night with food and warm clothes, added Gilbert. Many places in the forest do not have cell phone reception, so also make sure you let someone know when and where you are going, and when you plan to return.

Also consider putting your phone in airplane mode to help conserve battery life, should you reach a location that provides cell service.

For those who plan upon hiking, it is should be noted that microspikes are for flat ground only; if you are hiking in icy conditions, proper crampons are considered a must-have.

It is a best not to hike alone, be cognizant of current and incoming weather conditions, and make sure someone knows of your plans.

“This is probably going to be [necessary] for the next month or two, to be honest,” Gilbert said.

Both the Sheriff’s Department and Forestry Service say that the areas closed off because of the wildfire burnings last fall will remained closed until at least April 1.