WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government is set to begin ice cutting on the Red River this week in order to prevent ice-jam flooding.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler made the announcement in a news release on Monday, saying that predicting how and when a river’s ice will break up is complex.

“Knowing this, our government is remaining vigilant and prepared by implementing the ice-jam mitigation program,” he said.

“We have committed to investing in strategic flood-control operations in order to protect Manitobans in the chance of a high water event due to ice jamming.”

The ice-jam mitigation program began in 2006 with the goal of reducing the risk of flooding on the lower Red River, as well as several other rivers.

The program involves cutting and breaking river ice, because ice jams are created when floating ice is blocked from moving downstream, causing the water to backup and overflow the riverbanks.

The province uses remote controlled ice-cutting units and three Amphibex icebreakers to cut about 28 kilometres of ice on the Red River, from Selkirk to Netley Creek. The province noted it also often cuts the ice on the Icelandic River at Riverton and the outlet of the Portage Diversion.

There are notices in the areas where the ice-cutting machines will be working. The province urges people to stay off the ice in places were these notices are posted or where there’s evidence of recent ice cutting.

The province also reminds ice fishers to remove huts or other materials in the areas where the ice-mitigation program is taking place.