DNR: Watch out for thin ice on frozen lakes

Just because it’s late January, does not mean that the ice is safe.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 7:55 AM CST
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HANSKA, Minn. (KEYC) - The weather as of late has enticed anglers of all sorts to our area’s frozen lakes...but some lakes are less frozen than others.

Just because it’s late January, does not mean that the ice is safe.

On Saturday, a truck broke through the ice here at Lake Hanska, fortunately though, there were no injuries.

Many other drivers in the State also found themselves in a similar situation this past weekend. There’s always a risk when going on ice.

“That doesn’t mean that you know, people shouldn’t go on the ice,” insisted DNR Ice Safety Coordinator Nicole Biagi. “It just means that they should understand what they’re doing and do it safely.”

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office says if you must drive a vehicle onto ice, keep your windows down and be prepared to leave in a hurry -- and having some essential, must-have items on hand.

“[You’ll want] ice picks, other things that you can safely try to get out in the event that your vehicle breaks through the ice,” said Jeremy Read, Chief Deputy of Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

Biagi agreed, that staying sharp on the ice is important -- literally.

“So, if you fall in it can be really hard to just pull yourself out on a slippery, wet ice [surface],” said Biagi. “Having ice picks will help you crawl out of the water. A throw rope is a good thing to have; ice cleats, if you’re on, you know, slippery ice ... so you don’t fall.”

If you are parking on a lake, make sure to park at least 50 feet away from the closest vehicle, measuring the ice at least twice every hour.

“It’s going to be important for people if they’re going to venture out,” said Read. “[People need] to make sure that they’re periodically checking the the ice thickness as they go along and not just assume that all ice is safe.”

Biagi mentioned that there are different ways to test the ice for safety.

“So one way to check the ice would be to drill a whole near your truck and make sure that the water isn’t, you know, rising above the ice,” explained Biagi. “So, if you drill a hole and the water rises above the ice that means the ice is sinking and you need to move your truck.”