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For Release: Monday, April 23, 2018

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 4/16 - 4/22/18

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 2017, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 55 wildfires that burned a total of 191 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 564 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 is 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 Fallsburgh
Sullivan County
Wildland Fire:
On April 21, Forest Ranger Callee Baker responded to assist the Mountaindale Fire Department with suppression efforts on a 2.7-acre fire. Rangers worked with suppression efforts until all remnants of burning debris were extinguished the following day. The fire and its cause remain under investigation.

Town of Liberty
Sullivan County
Wildland Fire:
On April 22 at approximately 5 p.m., Rangers Callee Baker and Richard Franke responded to a report of brush fire in hardwood litter. On scene, the Rangers determined that a tree had fallen and knocked down hundreds of feet of power line. The downed power line caused surrounding hardwood leaf litter to ignite. The fire spread and quickly grew to 6.9 acres. Rangers, along with four local fire departments, suppressed the fire. NYSEG responded to the scene and mitigated electrical concerns while reconnecting the power lines.

Town of Waverly
Franklin County
Mountain Rescue:
On April 22 at 7:08 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Franklin County 911 regarding three 18-year-old hikers that were unprepared for the icy conditions while descending Azure Mountain. Two of the hikers were exhibiting signs of cold weather exposure. One Ranger responded and met the group on the trail. The Ranger assessed the subjects and provided hand and feet warmers. The hikers then made their way back down the mountain with the Ranger's assistance.

REMINDER: Residential Brush Burning Prohibited in New York State Through May 14

DEC Forest Rangers would like to remind the public that warming temperatures increase the potential for wildfires. Several small wildfires were reported across four counties this past week - Sullivan, Saratoga, Warren, and Suffolk counties. These small fires are indicative of typical spring wildfire activity, and as fuel conditions continue to dry out with the arrival of longer days and warmer temperatures, all New Yorkers are reminded that the state burn ban remains in effect through May 14. Be sure to check the daily updates to the state's Fire Danger Map and visit DEC's website for more information on the burn ban.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hiking Safety and Adirondack Backcountry Information webpage for more information.

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