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Police share ice safety tips as cold weather blankets Wood Buffalo

A snowmobiler driving their vehicle through the snow. Wood Buffalo RCMP and Bylaw Services are asking OHV owners to register and insure their vehicles (File photo).

With colder weather and winter underway in the region, Wood Buffalo RCMP reminds residents and families about winter and ice safety.

Police shared tips about ice forming on local bodies of water.

Recently frozen, thawed, and re-frozen ice is usually unsafe.

RCMP said the safest ice conditions are on still bodies of water like ponds or lakes.

The following is a list of colour indicators for ice strength:

  • Clear blue ice is recognized as the strongest.
  • White opaque or snow ice is potentially half as strong as blue ice.
  • Opaque ice is formed by wet snow freezing on the ice.
  • Grey ice is unsafe. The greyness indicates the presence of water.


Ice thickness is not consistent as the weakest ice is usually at the centre and on the edges of bodies of water.

The Alberta Conservation Association provided a graphic outlining various types of ice thickness.

IMAGE. Supplied by the Alberta Conservation Association via Wood Buffalo RCMP


Wood Buffalo RCMP suggested residents consult with them, Pulse, or Bylaw Services when planning activities on the ice.

They also ask residents to avoid activities on the ice during low light or at night.

If there is an emergency and a resident is alone, police encourage them to have their cell phone in an ‘easy to reach’ place and in a waterproof bag.

Remain calm and call 911 for assistance.

More information about ice safety is available with the Canadian Red Cross and the Alberta Conservation Association.