North

Ice conditions change fast as Yukon's warm spell continues

'You just look at it from day to day, you'll notice a huge change, especially when it's windy and we get these kind of temperatures,' said Barry Blisner of the Whitehorse Fire Department.

'It can be safe one day, and ... the next day just terrible conditions to walk on'

'We're not going to tell you to stay off the ice, but certainly if you are going to go on it for any reason at all, you really need to check it,' said Barry Blisner of the Whitehorse Fire Department. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

The snow's been rapidly disappearing this week in Yukon, and Barry Blisner says the ice cover on some lakes and rivers is also changing fast.

"You just look at it from day to day, you'll notice a huge change, especially when it's windy and we get these kind of temperatures," said Blisner, platoon chief with the Whitehorse Fire Department. 

"It can be safe one day and, like I say, the next day just terrible conditions to walk on."

Blisner and a group of firefighters were on — and some in — the Yukon River on Friday, doing ice rescue training. The fire department is typically called to respond when people get into trouble on the ice.

Blisner says this is when they're most likely to get calls, as people are getting outside more — and not always being cautious. He says people often run into trouble when their dogs run out onto the ice and they attempt to retrieve them.

Whitehorse firefighters were conducting ice rescue training exercises on the Yukon River on Friday. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

"We're not going to tell you to stay off the ice, but certainly if you are going to go on it for any reason at all, you really need to check it," he said.

"Two to four inches is probably good to stand on. The problem being especially in river situations, it can be two to four to six inches in one spot, and a few feet over it can be one inch."

He advises people to always have proper gear if they're going on the ice in spring.

"The most important thing is a proper life jacket." 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now