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For Release: Tuesday, October 10, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 10/2 – 10/8/17

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 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:

Essex County
Town of Moriah
On Oct. 3, New York State Police contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch regarding a missing 78-year-old male last seen at his residence in Mineville. Rangers Jeff Balerno, Sarah Bode, Kevin Burns, Jacob Deslauriers, and Dan Fox responded and worked with the State Police, Essex County Sherriff's, and a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer to check the immediate area. Two Rangers assisted by performing visual searches of the area with State Police Aviation. As word spread through the town, the subject was discovered to be staying with a family member for a few days. The family notified the State Police and on-scene units confirmed the whereabouts of the subject. No further assistance was needed.

Essex County
Town of St. Armand
: On Oct. 3, DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Franklin County 911 regarding a 64-year-old woman from Bloomingdale who was lost off Moose Pond. The subject entered the woods near her residence and lost her way. Rangers Jeff Balerno, Kevin Burns, and Megan McCone responded and attempted to use their sirens as an attractant. Due to the dense swampy area, the subject was unable to tell which direction the siren was coming from. Two Rangers entered the woods and established voice contact with the subject. She was then assisted back to her residence.

Essex County
Town of Keene
On Oct. 5 at 6:02 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Essex County 911 regarding two individuals hiking Giant Mountain. One subject, a 46-year-old female from Albany, was experiencing nausea, severe headaches, and weakness as the two hikers were descending. Coordinates placed them just above the Giant Washbowl. Ranger Jamison Martin was dispatched to assist the subjects and located them just below the washbowl at 7:28 p.m. The subject was given water to rehydrate and the Ranger escorted her down the rest of the trail, reaching the trailhead by 8:30 p.m.

Essex County
Town of Keene
On Oct. 6 at 1:15 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker advising that a 51-year-old male from Central Square had possibly dislocated his knee .7 miles from the junction of Gill Brook on Mount Colvin. Thirteen Rangers were dispatched in anticipation of having to carry the subject back to the trailhead. After locating and evaluating him, the decision was made to utilize State Police Aviation to transport the subject to Saranac Lake AMC.

Essex County
Town of Newcomb
On Oct. 7 at 7:35 p.m., a call came in to Ray Brook Dispatch regarding a 23-year-old female from West Chazy and a 24-year-old female from Morrisonville believed to be lost near the Macomb Slide. The two women were attempting to climb the five mountains in the Dix Mountain Range and had become turned around on the Macomb Slide. With darkness setting in, the subjects were having trouble following the herd path. Unable to establish further cell phone communications, Forest Rangers Jacob Deslauriers and Ben Baldwin were dispatched to the Elk Lake trailhead, where they located the subjects’ vehicle. The search continued through the night on Macomb Slide, nearby campsites, and area herd-paths with negative results. Additional Forest Rangers were brought in for the Sunday morning operation period. At 9:20 a.m., the two women were located in good condition on the Dix Trail about one-quarter mile from the Elk Lake trailhead. The two hikers had spent an unexpected night near the top of the Lillian Brook Trail, unable to locate its exact location.

Washington County
Town of Dresden
On Oct. 8, Ray Brook Dispatch received a call requesting assistance for a 53-year-old male from Troy with a possible leg injury. The subject was descending a trail when he slipped. Rangers Ian Kerr and Evan Donegan responded with State Police Aviation while Rangers Jaime Laczko and Joe Hess responded on foot. The subject was packaged into a litter by the Rangers and local fire department personnel. The Rangers then loaded the subject into the helicopter. He was transported to a local airport, then to a waiting ambulance, and finally to a local hospital.

Essex County
Town of Keene
On Oct. 8 at 5:36 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from the High Peaks Information Center requesting assistance for a 61-year-old male from River Forest, Illinois, with a leg injury on Mount Jo. Rangers Dan Fox, Chris Kostoss, Robbi Mecus, and Scott Van Laer responded and located the subject. Rangers stabilized the injury and began carrying the subject to the trailhead in a litter with backpack carriers. The subject declined further assistance and stated he would seek further medical attention on his own.

Otsego County
Town of Decatur
Wildland Fire:
On Oct. 3 at approximately 4 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call from Otsego County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance for a structure fire that had spread into the surrounding forest. Rangers Jason Seeley and Hannah O’Connor responded. When the Rangers arrived, numerous local fire departments were already working both the structural fire and the wildland fire. The wildland fire was contained at 8.2 acres. Rangers Seeley, O’Connor, and Aimee Bills continued to mop up ground fire hot spots over the next three days. The fire was finally declared out on Oct. 6.

Otsego County Wildland Fire

Albany County
Town of Colonie and City of Albany
Prescribed Fire:
On Oct. 3 and 4, four Forest Rangers assisted Albany Pine Bush Commission staff in completing two prescribed fires totaling 30.8 acres in size. Prescribed fire is a land management tool used to maintain the character of the pine bush forest community and improve habitat for several flora and fauna species.

Albany County Perscribed Fire
Albany County Perscribed Fire
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