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Posted on: December 13, 2023

Residents reminded of dangers of iced over Sheyenne River and area retention ponds

Residents reminded of dangers of iced over Sheyenne River and area retention ponds (PNG)

The West Fargo Fire and Police Departments remind residents of the danger of iced over retention ponds and the Sheyenne River. The best way to stay safe is by staying off iced over bodies of water. 

“Area retention ponds and the Sheyenne River have begun to ice over, creating potential dangers for our residents,” said Dan Fuller, West Fargo Fire Chief. “There is no such thing as safe ice, the best way to stay safe is to stay off iced over bodies of water.”

Appearances may be deceiving when it comes to ice forming on bodies of water. It may appear to be frozen solid, but there is no guarantee the ice will be thick enough to withstand additional weight. 

“Retention ponds and the Sheyenne River should never be walked on or used for recreation once iced over,” said Pete Nielsen, West Fargo Police Chief. “Parents and guardians are reminded to discuss the dangers of these bodies of water with their children.”

The strength of ice on public retention ponds and area rivers is 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 serve as insulation on the ice, impacting ice formation and masking signs of unsafe ice conditions. 

If residents travel to a body of water 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 respond safely to these situations. 

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