The snow is sticking and the river is freezing, but that doesn't mean you should take a brisk afternoon walk on the Red Deer River.
"It all depends on the thickness of the ice. If anybody is venturing on any ice, the minimum thickness should be four inches of ice before anyone attempts to walk on it or put any weight on the ice," explained Drumheller Fire Cheif Bruce Wade. "Whether it is standing water or flowing water could make a difference. Flowing water undercuts the ice and you never know how thick it could be."
The Red Deer River is classified as flowing water and Wade cautions anyone who is planning on venturing onto the ice.
"I would caution people to stay away from it. It may look like it is frozen solid, but as we saw last year, there are areas on the south side of the area underneath the Gordon Taylor Bridge, there is not much ice, and you really never know," he warned.
Wade was speaking of an incident last March where two snowmobile riders fell through the ice under the bridge and needed to be rescued. The Drumheller Fire Department does not monitor the ice, as it is always changing.
The Department instead prepares themselves for more ice rescue situations, which came in handy last year.
"Our guys do train on it. Probably, a couple times a year we do scenarios. Last year, we did at least one or two in the outdoor pool, where we cut a hole in the ice and stimulate rescue. We have dry suits that they guys can wear so they don't get hypothermic, reaching tools and an ice rescue skid," concluded Wade.
He went on to say that the calls for ice rescue are not frequent, but they are grateful to have the equipment when it is needed.