Statewide Wildfires: From April 11 to 17, Forest Rangers were called to 26 wildfires in 16 counties that burned nearly 1,000 acres of land. The largest fires were in the town of Deerpark in Orange County at 300 acres, and in the town of Richmondville where the fire totaled 241 acres and spanned Otsego and Schoharie counties. In both fires, Forest Rangers worked with New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation to perform dozens of bucket drops.
The relationship between Rangers and NYSP pilots is invaluable. Their training and experience make it possible to successfully contain these fires. Rangers coordinated firefighting efforts with State agency partners including the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Office of Fire Prevention and Control, New York State Parks, Department of Transportation, Office of Emergency Management, dozens of local responders, volunteer firefighters, and other DEC staff trained in wildland fire suppression.
Videos of some of the fires are available on DEC’s website:
DEC reminds New Yorkers the annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning began March 16 and runs through May 14. The largest cause of spring brushfires in New York is residential burning. More information is available on the DEC website.
Hamlet of Paul Smiths
Public Outreach: On April 12, Forest Rangers Adams and Odell spoke to prospective Forest Rangers at Paul Smith’s College career fair. Many current Rangers attended Paul Smith’s. Rangers Adams and Odell talked about the requirements to become a Ranger and the skills and equipment used in the field.
Town of Greenfield
Wilderness Rescue: On April 16 at 12:33 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with two hikers lost in Daniel’s Road State Forest. The hikers indicated they were on the trail, but became disoriented trying to find their way back to Daniels Road, where they had parked. Forest Ranger Lieutenant Ganswindt responded to the trailhead, used a pin of a subject’s location, and directed the hikers to walk in the proper direction. Lt. Ganswindt met the hikers on the trail and walked the two Clifton Park residents back to the trailhead by 2:46 p.m. The pair said they planned to hike five miles, but their trackers indicated they actually walked 13. They were hot, tired, and had blisters. The hikers were not prepared for the hike, were unfamiliar with the trail system, and did not have a map.
Town of Keene
Wilderness Rescue: On April 16 at 2:30 p.m., Forest Rangers responded to a report of a fallen climber at the Spider’s Web climbing area in Keene. At 3:37 p.m., six Rangers reached the subject and determined a hoist rescue was the best option. The hiker had fallen approximately 40 feet and had significant injuries. State Police Sergeant Beck piloted the helicopter with Ranger Balerno. Rangers on the ground stabilized the 23-year-old from Connecticut and moved him to a safe place for the rescue. Ranger Balerno lowered a litter so Rangers on the ground could secure the subject and hoist him into the helicopter. Sgt. Beck then flew the climber to Marcy Field and the patient was transferred to a LifeNet helicopter for transport to the hospital. Resources were clear at 5:06 p.m.
Video of the hoist mission is available at DEC’s website.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hike Smart NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.
If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it’s for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.