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Authorities warn of thin ice on Chena River, offer ice safety tips

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 5:46 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The rivers and lakes of Alaska can be great places to travel, play and fish on during the cold winter months, but this year, warm temperatures have made ice on the Chena River unsafe. The Fairbanks Fire Department posted to Facebook warning residents of Fairbanks to avoid being on the river.

Fairbanks Fire Department would like to caution residents; we ask that folks please stay off the ice on the Chena River....

Posted by City of Fairbanks Fire Department on Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Michael Potter, a Sergeant with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers says the river is often unpredictable.

“We have the power plant in Fairbanks there, they put some warmer water into the river so basically from the power plant down to Peger bridge I would say is usually not very reliable ice through the winter,” Potter said.

Anytime someone is on the ice, Potter said there is always a chance of falling through, “If you are going to venture out on the ice you probably ought to preplan in your head a little bit about those eventualities that you could fall through the ice.”

He said people can ensure they don’t go through the ice by staying away from bad ice.

“Obviously if you know the ice is not real safe it’s just probably not the best idea to be out there anyways,” Potter said.

For those that do have to be on the ice, he said it is a good idea to prepare by bringing something like a small ice pick that can help them get out if they do fall in. For those that do end up in the icy water, he said to make sure they get inside if possible, dry off and warm up.

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