Ice conditions change fast as Yukon's warm spell continues
'It can be safe one day, and ... the next day just terrible conditions to walk on'
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.
"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."