STAY OFF LAKE ICE! Ice rescue training exercises on Big Bear Lake are being conducted this week. . . just in case! (File Photo by Michael P. Neufeld)

By Michael P. Neufeld

UPDATE – Monday, January 14 – 11 a.m.

Big Bear Lake, CA – First responders will be conducting ice rescue drills on Big Bear Lake.

The training exercises — led by Bear Valley area firefighters — are set to get underway at 1 p.m. on Monday, January 14, Tuesday, January 15, and Thursday, January 16. The training area is near the Stanfield Cutoff.


UPDATE – Saturday, January 12 – 1:48 p.m.

Mountain Communities – Ice is forming on several mountain lakes but the best advice is to STAY OFF!

The cold front, lingering in the mountain communities, has resulted in temperatures creating lake ice but authorities caution that the ice is dangerous, unstable and deceptive and should be avoided at all cost. Pets should also be kept off lake ice.



Big Bear Lake, CA – Dangerous, unstable and deceptive are just three of the words describing ice on Big Bear Lake.

Treacherous is another because if someone or their pet falls through the thin ice covering the water will be frigid. In fact, Big Bear Municipal Water District reports the lake’s year-round average water temperature is 35 degrees Fahrenheit. But that temperature drops when ice is on the lake and can cause the rapid onset of hypothermia.

The district urges anyone who witnesses someone or a pet on the ice to call 9–1-1 immediately. Not only is there a potential for disaster but it’s against MWD rules and San Bernardino County codes to be on lake ice. Fines of up to $500 can be accessed  for venturing out on the ice.


Local emergency responders conduct regular training exercises on Big Bear Lake to be ready should someone fall through the thin ice that never gets cold enough to freeze to a depth that allows anyone to venture out on the ice. MWD personnel indicate that’s because algae and other lake vegetation prevents a deeper freeze.

Firefighters and dive team members wear special suits to help keep them from suffering  hypothermia during rescues and training.

The best advice should someone or a pet end up in the lake is to call 9-1-1 immediately.


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