West Fargo first responders urge residents to stay off Sheyenne river and retention pond ice

Photo by: WDAY Radio File (Canva)
Photo by: WDAY Radio File (Canva)

(West Fargo, ND) -- Local city officials are urging caution as surfaces of nearby rivers and retention ponds begin to freeze. 

The West Fargo Fire and Police Department are making the statement as cooler conditions begin to settle in the Red River Valley. Several factors can strengthen or weaken ice, like layers of water flowing between ice, temperature changes, drainage of salt, and pumps meant to agitate water inside the retention ponds to reduce freezing. In short, first responders urge residents to stay off the ice in most circumstances.

“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.”

Experts say another reason to stay off river ice is because the layers can be deceptively thick or thin depending on where the ice forms. This includes areas near partially submerged trees, brushes, structures, or embankments, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. More tips about crossing ice can be found by clicking here.

When it comes to recreational purposes in West Fargo, authorities are encouraging caution, and to check the ice thickness prior to walking onto a potentially dangerous surface.

“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.”