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First responders from West Fargo advise locals to avoid the Sheyenne River and retention pond ice



West Fargo, North Dakota – Officials from the local municipal are warning people to exercise caution as the retention ponds and surrounding rivers start to freeze.

As cooler weather moves into the Red River Valley, the West Fargo Fire and Police Department is issuing the statement. Several elements can make or break the ice, including water layers between the ice, variations in temperature, salt drainage, and pumps that stir the water in retention ponds to prevent freezing. In summary, first responders advise locals to avoid the ice in the majority of situations.

“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 add that depending on where the ice forms, the layers might be misleadingly thin or thick, which is another reason to avoid river ice. This includes locations close to buildings, embankments, trees, and bushes that are partially flooded, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Authorities in West Fargo are advising people to use caution and to verify the thickness of the ice before venturing into any potentially hazardous areas when it comes to recreational activities.

“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.”