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Minnesota DNR: Early ice remains unsafe

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources warned residents across the state today that, despite frigid temperatures in recent days, there is no safe ice for walking or vehicle travel.

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The DNR also issued a special plea for parents and others to be especially watchful of children near newly formed ice on ponds, creeks and lakes.

The DNR said that there is no ice in the state consistently 4 inches or more thick, which the agency recommends for safe walking.

"DNR conservation officers are reporting that people are starting to tip-toe out on a few frozen ponds," said Tim Smalley, DNR boat and water safety specialist, in a written statement. "This is not a good idea, and it could set a bad example for children."

Some 43 people died after falling through ice in Minnesota over the last 10 years. Nearly 30 percent were younger than 9. The holidays are a particularly risky time, since children are out of school and spend more time outdoors.

The DNR recommends 6 or more inches for snowmobile travel and a foot or more for cars and trucks.

Any blanket of snow on new ice also could slow the process of freezing, insulating the ice from the cold.

Winter sports enthusiasts can obtain a free packet of ice safety information including a pamphlet and a minimum ice thickness wallet card by calling (888) 646-6367 or go to www.mndnr.gov/safety/ice.

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