The cold and warm temperatures experienced in Colorado this winter have created layers of weak ice over many popular spots.
“We have a thawing and freezing effect. Ice decomposes, so every time it thaws it decomposes. It refreezes, but it’s not as strong as good lake ice,” said Curt Crump with Colorado Springs Fire Department. “So, every time it does that it’s weaker, and weaker, and weaker and there’s more of a chance someone will fall through. There’s really no way for you to tell by looking at the ice from the surface to tell if it’s good ice or not.”
Crump said one of the biggest problems is people who try to rescue their pets from the ice.
He said dogs will most likely “self-rescue,” while the person gets trapped in the broken ice.
“It’s the people who go out to rescue their pets, and I understand pets are part of the family, and then we go do body recoveries for those people and the dog survives,” said Crump.
The Colorado Parks & Wildlife said one of the issues with the ice that people need to be aware of is the thickness of the ice varies widely from spot to spot.
“It can be a foot thick in one location, and a couple hundred feet away it can be only a few inches thick. You do need to test the ice as you go,” said Michael Seraphin, spokesperson for Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
He suggests using a pole to check the ice before stepping onto it, keeping a floatation vest with you and having a plan in the event something does go wrong.
There are more tips on the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website.