LANSING, Mich. (AP/ WOOD) — State Fire Marshal Julie Secontine is urging Michiganders to stay off the ice with unseasonably high temperatures forecast for the state.
She says conditions are too dangerous and unpredictable for people and pets to venture onto ice-covered lakes, rivers and ponds.
She says emergency personnel respond to numerous calls regarding adults, children and pets falling through the ice or stranded on floating ice cakes. She says nearly 85 percent of ice emergency 911 calls result from individuals trying to save a pet who fell through ice.
As of Friday afternoon, dispatchers in Allegan and Barry counties had already responded to calls of people who fell into icy waters.
Allegan County dispatchers said before firefighters could arrive, a fisherman rescued three children who fell into a body of water in the 3300 block of 125th Avenue in Monterey Township. The children are OK.
Less than two hours earlier, a man fell into a lake in the 8300 block of Chain O Lakes Drive in Barry County’s Hope Township. He was eventually pulled out of the lake and up and walking around.
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In a Thursday news release, the U.S. Coast Guard warned the unseasonably warm temperatures moving into West Michigan this weekend will cause ice to melt “at an alarming rate.”
The Coast Guard said despite milder air temperatures, the Great Lakes will still be dangerously cold, making it unsafe to venture out for ice fishing or other recreational purposes.
The warning comes at the same time the state is waiving fishing license fees, which could lead to an uptick in fishing on West Michigan’s waters.
The Coast Guard is advising people to avoid ice cracks, seams, pressure ridges, and slushy and darker areas, all of which are red flags of dangerously thin ice.
Ice near the shore may also be dangerous due to shifting, expansion and warming.