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Consider safety when out on winter ice: Sask. Government

As lakes and rivers across the province freeze over, The Saskatchewan Government is reminding people to play it safe when on outdoor ice.

Ice thickness is based on several factors, including particular waterbody, weather and the local ice conditions, and as such, people should check it before walking, riding or driving over it.

It should also be known that ice never freezes uniformly, and can vary heavily depending on different areas of the water body. It should be re-evaluated every time, even if it was safe before, and clear, hard ice is the only ice recommended for travel.

Generally, as a rule, ice should be 10 centimetres thick to walk on it, 20 centimetres to support a snowmobile or ATV, 30 centimetres to drive a car or small truck and more than 30 centimetres for larger trucks.

People should also be on the lookout for ice that looks slushy, is near moving water, is layered due to sudden pressure changes, has pressure ridges on it, or has thawed or frozen again.

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River ice, especially downstream of dams when winter releases are being made, is also more hazardous and inconsistent than lake ice. The date ice becomes safe at a site varies from year to year, and people should not rely on past experiences to judge whether ice is safe.

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