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For Release: Monday, January 7, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 12/31/18 - 1/6/19

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 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 Middleburgh
Schoharie County
Wilderness Search:
On Jan. 3 at approximately 3:25 p.m., Ranger Melissa Milano was called by Schoharie County Dispatch to respond to a disoriented hiker at Vroman's Nose. The 53-year-old woman from Roseboom was worried she wouldn't make it out before approaching darkness. Ranger Milano was on scene by 3:40 p.m., and reached the subject by 4:15 p.m. The subject and her two dogs were quickly located not far from Church Street on the Long Path Trail. The woman was escorted back to her vehicle and the scene was clear by 4:46 p.m. Members of the Middleburgh Fire Department assisted in this search effort.

Town of Webb
Herkimer County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Jan. 4 at 2:08 p.m., a caller contacted Herkimer County 911 requesting help on the summit of Bald Mountain in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest. A Pittsford man was hiking with his wife when he slipped and fell on the icy summit and rammed into his 57-year-old wife. The woman sustained a left elbow dislocation injury. Herkimer County 911 dispatched Old Forge Fire/Rescue, a town of Webb Police Officer, and called DEC Ray Brook Dispatch to request Forest Ranger assistance. Five Forest Rangers and an Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) were dispatched to help rescue the subject. Additionally, two Old Forge Rescue EMTs responded directly to the mountain and headed in to begin patient care. At approximately 4:28 p.m., rescuers using rope lowering techniques began patient extraction. Due to extreme treacherous icy conditions under the snow, rescue efforts were slowed. At 6:07 p.m., the patient was at the trailhead and transferred to Old Forge Rescue ambulance for transport to Utica hospital. All units were clear at 6:30 p.m.

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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