When a deer fell through the ice yesterday, it was Owatonna Fire Department to the rescue. According to Owatonna Fire, they were assisting the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The video shows an Owatonna firefighter in the water wearing a cold water rescue suit, as he helps the struggling deer back up onto solid ice, before it works its way back into the wilderness.

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Social media comments show a heavy dose of appreciation from viewers of the video to the Owatonna firefighter featured in the rescue footage.

The video also highlights the ongoing thin ice dangers that exist across southern Minnesota. The warmer than normal weather has created unstable and unsafe ice conditions across the region.

And it's not just lakes that can pose a dangerous risk.

Our unseasonably warm weather is especially detrimental to ice on backyard ponds and smaller bodies of water, which are often found in neighborhoods.

At least eight children under the age of 10 have died in the past 25 years in Minnesota after falling through backyard ice.

Across southern Minnesota, law enforcement official's warnings expand beyond that, saying that many bodies of water in our area have expansive areas of thin ice, or even open water.

The Minnesota DNR says, children are at a much higher risk because they do not understand the danger and might not even know that they are walking on ice when they are playing near a frozen holding pond or drainage ditch.

First and foremost, when it comes to ice thickness, safety, and predictability -- there are no guarantees. They keys to safety are awareness, knowledge, preparedness, and the ability to react calmly & effectively in case things go bad.

Minnesota DNR
Minnesota DNR


Remember, temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the relative safety of ice. Ice is seldom the same thickness over a single body of water; it can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away. Check the ice at least every 150 feet.

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Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Minnesota using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from realtor.com.

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

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Gallery Credit: Samm Adams

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