With the weather fluctuating between icy cold and warm, local officials are reminding people to stay off of frozen water.

With the weather fluctuating between icy cold and warm, local officials are reminding people to stay off of frozen water.

In Crowley County, it was reported that a person was driving on Lake Henry after a recent cold spell.

And, as a result, they are sending out a reminder that people need to stay off of lakes with their vehicles, four-wheelers, ice skates and bodies.

La Junta Fire Chief Aaron Eveatt said the bodies of water in La Junta, and many in the surrounding area, do not usually stay frozen long enough to allow citizens to safely go out on the ice.

La Junta Police Chief Todd Quick said people are not allowed on City Park Pond if it is frozen. If they are caught, they could be issued a summons and have to go to municipal court.

“Due to the fluctuation in temperatures lately, I would recommend that people stay off of the ice on any size of frozen bodies of water.”

Although La Junta Fire Department is able to perform surface rescues or bobbing victim rescues, cold water rescues must be outsourced.

“Once under the ice, in most cases, it will be a recovery in which we would call in a dive team,” Eveatt said.

That means calling in a team from Pueblo. For Crowley County, that’s a minimum of a 45-minute response time. La Junta, at least 60 minutes and for Bent County, it’s at least a 90-minute response time.

“Just stay off the water,” Lt. Brian Therrien with Bent County Sheriff’s Office said.


The following tips were provided by Eveatt:

Gauging the strength of ice is very difficult. There is no such thing as 100-percent safe ice.

Never walk or drive on cloudy ice

Only go on clear, thick ice

Spring ice is NEVER safe

The thickness of ice is never consistent - it will be flat on top, but not on the bottom

Snow on ice acts as an insulator - it makes ice warmer and weaker

Extreme cold snaps will weaken the ice

Ice formed over running water (rivers & streams) is more dangerous than ice formed over standing water (lakes & ponds)

General ice thickness guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Natural Services (new, clear ice only):

Less than 2 inches - STAY OFF!

4" and thicker - probably safe for walking and ice fishing on foot

5" and thicker - probably safe for ATV or snowmobiling

8-12" and thicker - probably safe for small cars or light pickups

12-15" and thicker - probably safe for medium trucks

Noisy ice doesn't necessarily mean unsafe ice. It's just the layer of ice shifting and moving on top of the water.

The safety of ice is ever-changing. It depends on a multitude of factors:

age of the ice
snow cover
depth of water under the ice
size of the body of water under the ice
water chemistry
local climate
distribution of weight on the ice

Your most important tool is common sense.