Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 12:12pm

Madison Fire Department Warns Of Unsafe Conditions

As a deep freeze sinks into Madison after a mild December, many are itching to enjoy winter activities on the city’s lakes.
“Not so fast!” says the Madison Fire Department.
Although the State Climatology Office declared Madison’s lakes officially “frozen” as of January 11, it will be a little while before the ice is thick enough for people or vehicles to occupy.
At least three inches of ice must accumulate before it is safe for people and light activities. At least five inches must accumulate before snowmobiles and ATVs can safely drive on it. Vehicles should not be on the ice unless there is at least one foot of ice. 
The Madison Fire Department’s Lake Rescue Team typically sees an increase in calls for people in distress on the ice around this time. Anyone who plans to enjoy Madison’s frozen lakes should wait until the ice reaches sufficient depth.
In the meantime, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides ice safety tips to help you prepare for your on-ice adventures. The Dane County Sheriff’s Office advises also anglers to stay away from areas where current or flowage may be present.
The Madison Fire Department Lake Rescue Team is comprised over 50 trained SCUBA divers certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. On-duty divers respond year-round to topside, underwater, and ice rescues, as well as recoveries, vehicle recoveries, and assistance calls from the City of Madison Police Department and Dane County Sheriff’s Office.