Stay off the ice.
That warning from fire officials is for people and pets alike.
Ponds and waterways in the Pikes Peak region crust over with ice as temperatures drop below freezing, offering a tempting but dangerous surface.
“We’ve been called to the ice numerous times this year,” Capt. Nathan Mascarenas with the Fountain Fire Department said Thursday.
Thankfully, all those calls ended with warnings, he said.
People, including kids, may venture onto the ice out of curiosity. Kids who see skating and other ice play on TV don’t realize that the ice covering local waters is thin, and sometimes venture into more danger when the ice starts cracking, he said.
Others go onto ice to retrieve pets that ran off chasing waterfowl.
Most of the still water in the region has at least some ice thanks to recent freezing temperatures. Several ponds are part of El Paso County’s Fountain Creek Regional Park. Most of Prospect Lake in Memorial Park is crusted with ice and covered with snow. Quail Lake near Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard is ice-covered. The water in Sinton Pond Open Space appears frozen and is also topped with snow.
“The ice out here will not hold,” Mascarenas said.
Dogs usually wander onto ice for a reason, and they should be kept on leashes. In communities near Denver, several dogs have been rescued recently after falling into icy water.
“Pets are family members,” and it’s instinctive to want to rescue them when they get into trouble. It’s hard for anyone to watch a pet drown while waiting for help, he said.
In January, a man died after falling through the ice at Willow Springs Ponds near Interstate 25 and Mesa Ridge Parkway. He chased his runaway dog onto the ice-covered pond and managed to throw his dog on to the shore before he went under the water.
Nearly 30 firefighters and rescue divers responded to the call at Willow Springs Ponds. Despite special training, firefighters place themselves at risk any time they head out onto the ice or into frigid water for a rescue, Mascarenas said.
Andrew Bonney was at Quail Lake Park with his two children Thursday.
“Don’t play on the ice, don’t go on the ice, is common sense,” he said, adding that common sense isn’t always common. He said he knows the ice isn’t solid because it doesn’t get cold enough here.
In some parts of the country people routinely walk — and drive — on frozen lakes and ponds.
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