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The West Fargo Fire and Police Departments remind residents to stay safe by staying off iced over retention ponds and the Sheyenne River.
“There is simply no safe ice,” said Dan Fuller, West Fargo Fire Chief. “Retention ponds and the Sheyenne River should never be walked on or used for recreational activities after they ice over.”
Appearances may be deceiving when it comes to ice forming on bodies of water. It may look as though it is frozen solid, but there is no guarantee the ice will be thick enough to withstand extra weight.
“We urge everyone to stay off of West Fargo’s public retention ponds and the Sheyenne River,” said Denis Otterness, West Fargo Police Chief. “Water levels are constantly changing, making these bodies of water unsafe for recreational activities.”
The strength of ice on retention ponds and rivers are lowered by several factors, including layers of water flowing under the ice, daily temperature changes, salt water drainage and agitation pumps placed throughout retention ponds. Snow can insulate the ice, impacting ice formation and hiding signs of unsafe ice conditions.
If residents do travel to a body of water that is meant for winter recreation, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department recommends always checking the thickness of the ice first. If ice is less than 4 inches thick, stay off the body of water. More information on ice safety can be found online at https://gf.nd.gov/ice-safety
If an individual does fall through the ice, call 911 immediately. The West Fargo Fire Department has specialized equipment and completes training to allow them to respond safely to these situations.