Forest Ranger Actions for 7/24 - 7/30/17
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.
In 2016, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 356 search and rescue missions, extinguished 185 wildfires that burned a total of 4,191 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in nearly 3,000 tickets or arrests.
"Across New York, DEC's Forest Rangers' are on the front lines helping people safely enjoy the great outdoors," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Their knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are critical to the success of their missions which take them from remote wilderness areas, with rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and throughout our vast forested areas statewide."
Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers include:
Town of Webb
Wildland Rescue: On July 25 at 4 p.m., Herkimer County 911 transferred a call to DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch regarding a 66-year-old Honeoye Falls man who sustained a knee injury near the top of Bald Mountain. Forest Rangers Gary Miller and Luke Evans worked with local volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians to carry the injured man down one mile to a waiting ambulance. He was evaluated by ambulance personnel but was transported by his son to a hospital close to their home. All first responders were clear of the scene by 7 p.m.
Town of Inlet
Wildland Search: On July 25 at 8 p.m., Herkimer County 911 transferred a request to DEC Ray Brook Dispatch to find four lost campers from Limekiln Lake State Campground. Town of Inlet Police used sirens to attract the four Groton teenagers back to the road while two DEC Forest Rangers attempted to intercept the group. By 10:30 p.m., Rangers made contact with the group, determined they were well enough to hike out, and escorted the four back to the campground without further incident.
Town of Johnsburg
Wildland Rescue: On July 26, Warren County 911 asked DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch to dispatch Rangers to Crane Mountain, where a man had suffered a knee injury. Six DEC Forest Rangers responded and determined the 71-year-old Brooklyn man needed to be hoisted from his remote location. A New York State Police helicopter from Albany responded and Rangers were able to harness and evacuate the man to a Johnsburg EMS ambulance. Garnet Lake Fire Department assisted with the rescue, helicopter landing and patient transfer.
Town of Newcomb
Wildland Search: On July 27 at 11 a.m., Franklin County 911 notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch of a 26-year-old Riverhead man who was disoriented on the Huntington Wildlife Forest. The man had clear cell phone contact and was advised by Dispatch to stay where he was. DEC Forest Rangers Del Jeffery and Ben Baldwin arrived within 10 minutes and used siren blasts near the reported location from the cell phone call to alert the man. After several unsuccessful attempts to use sound attraction, both Rangers hiked toward the man's likely location and made voice contact with him by 2 p.m., safely returning the man to his vehicle by 3 p.m.
Lolo National Forest
Wildfire Containment: On July 24, 10 DEC Forest Rangers plus an additional 10 DEC employees and volunteers began their 14-day fighting fire assignment on the Sunrise Fire in Lolo National Forest in western Montana. The 20-firefighter attack crew spent their first few days improving the containment lines that are prepared to stop the spread of the fire. By July 27, the wildfire had grown to 3,700 acres and had exhibited extreme fire behavior and long range spotting - when new fires pop up in advance of the primary fire. More than 400 firefighters and incident command personnel were assigned to the Sunrise Fire, which is not expected to be contained until late September. It is believed that a lightning strike sparked the blaze.
Town of Keene
Wildland Rescue: On July 27 at 6:30 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a radio transmission from John's Brook Interior Outpost regarding a 20-year-old Michigan woman suffering severe abdominal pain. She had been moved from Bushnell Falls to Johns Brook Loj, where she was further monitored and spent the night. Her condition did not improve over night so she was moved to the DEC Johns Brook Outpost, where DEC Forest Rangers and a NYSP helicopter evacuated her to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
Town of Keene
Training Exercise: DEC Forest Rangers, instructors from the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School and soldiers from the Canadian Army Advanced Mountain Warfare Operations Unit conducted a joint military training exercise on July 27 in the Adirondack Park at the direction of DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. The purpose of the training exercise was to cross train and share techniques used in technical search, rescue, recovery and tactical missions. The day began with basic overview of a technique shared by the Canadian forces and demonstrated at the Keene Fire Department's training center in Keene. Rangers, soldiers and instructors put the demonstrated techniques to the test by rigging a rope system over the West Branch of the AuSable River through the Flume in nearby Wilmington. This same location has been the scene of many rescues and recoveries in recent years. Rangers, Canadian Forces and U.S. Army personnel were able to transport individuals across the Flume in a safe and efficient manner. In an actual rescue mission, this would allow a rescuer to extract a victim from otherwise inaccessible waters below.
Town of Fort Ann
Wildland Rescue: On July 30 at 2:47 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Washington County 911 requesting assistance for a 13-year-old boy who fell approximately 25 feet while hiking near Shelving Rock Falls and sustained a leg and head injury. There was a nurse hiking nearby who was able to assist him until Forest Rangers, Fire Department and EMS crews arrived on scene. The teenager was brought out to an awaiting ambulance by Forest Rangers and West Fort Ann Firefighters. He was then evaluated by Fort Ann EMS and taken to a local hospital for further medical attention.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hiking Safety and Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for more information.