DENVER (KDVR) — Safety concerns and snow removal have prompted the closure of U.S. 40 over Berthoud Pass after recent avalanche activity.

The first closure began just before 11 a.m. Wednesday. The Colorado Department of Transportation says snow removal will continue until 8 p.m. and continued closures are possible.

The highway is closed in both directions between Winter Park and Henderson Mine Road.

Small avalanches came down Monday and Tuesday afternoons across U.S. 40 on the north side of Berthoud Pass near Winter Park Resort. Crews removed snow while cars were backed up.

Warm temperatures in the afternoon can loosen snow from recent storms and cause small avalanches called bank slides, CDOT said.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s forecast had the area at “Considerable” risk for avalanches Wednesday, level 3 of 5 on its scale.