Missoula City Fire crews did their monthly training exercise on the Clark Fork River Thursday morning, practicing ice rescues.

Battalion Chief Derek Mullins said winter weather poses unique dangers when people and their pets get too close to the river.

"There are grave dangers for those walking on frozen ponds and waterways when temperatures stay around freezing, so please take extra care and keep away from frozen water during the cold snap," Mullins said. "A number of ponds, reservoirs, and rivers may freeze and, while they may look enticing as a recreational opportunity, the ice is a very dangerous place."

Mullins said the temptation to play 'fetch' along the river could turn deadly.

"Dog owners must be careful around frozen water and not throw sticks or balls onto ice," he said. "Should a dog go onto the ice and get into difficulty don't attempt to carry out a rescue. Ice might look safe, but any ice that has moving water under it can be very hazardous. It's hard to tell how thick the ice is and if you were to fall through and get caught in the current, it could sweep you down river under the ice. Keep track of your pets, and keep them off the ice."

The Missoula City Fire Department urges residents to stay safe and stay off the frozen water.