Fire officials are reminding people to be vigilant when they're out on the ice, no matter where they are, because ice thickness can change daily.
With highs reaching above the freezing mark on many days in recent weeks, ice conditions are unpredictable on bodies of water in and around Edmonton. That includes a popular winter destination just south of the city.
Whether it’s skating, ice fishing or just enjoying the outdoors people are spending their day on the ice at Pigeon Lake. But just off the shoreline, the ice isn’t in ideal condition for recreational activities.
“A lot of times we’ll get a freeze and then we get a lot of snow and it actually insulates the ice. The ice is a lot thinner this year we’ve had no cold weather,” said Wayne Benson, chief of the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department.
Typically around this time of year, there would be no issues with ice thickness at the lake.
Now the lake is scattered with cracks and ruts, which the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department says could be a sign of a bigger issue.
“Be cautious of them. Those are there for a reason. So different pressures or different currents under the ice, cause those cracks and those heaves. Ice is weak there,” said Capt. Austin Cummings.
Despite the uncertain conditions, the fire department says it’s dealt with fewer rescue calls this year compared to normal.
But they’re staying prepared by training other first responders how to respond to incidents properly. Benson says even with training, rescues be dangerous for rescuers as well as the people in trouble.