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For Release: Monday, November 6, 2017

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 10/30 - 11/5

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:

Town of Johnsburg
Warren County
: At 5 p.m. on Nov. 1, a radio call came in from the DEC trail crew working on the East Sacandaga Trail. The crew had been notified that a man in his late 70s was having a possible cardiac arrest on the Puffer Pond Trail in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. Due to inclement weather, helicopter support was not available. Six Forest Rangers, two trail crew members, and the Indian Lake Fire Department responded to the scene for a carry-out of the ill hiker. At 6:59 p.m., the hiker was reported deceased. The carry-out ended at the trailhead at 11 p.m. All units were clear of the scene by midnight.

Town of Keene
Essex County
On Nov. 4 at 6:32 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a transferred call from Essex County 911. A 24-year-old man stated he was lost near Marcy Dam in the High Peaks Wilderness. The cellphone connection was poor, but dispatch gleaned enough information to send a Ranger toward Marcy Dam. The subject reported he had crossed over a river and was near a blue trail marker. The man had no light source and a low cell phone battery and did not feel comfortable continuing his hike in the dark. One Ranger responded, located the subject at 8:19 p.m., and assisted him back to his vehicle. No further assistance was needed.

Town of Schroon
Essex County
On Nov. 5 at 5:46 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call about a 55-year-old male hunter lost near Crane Pond Road in the town of Schroon. Ray Brook Dispatch had the subject contact Essex County 911 directly to obtain and relay coordinates. With this information secured, Ranger Benjamin Baldwin responded to the subject's reported location. The hunter had started a fire to keep warm and stated he had no injuries. Ranger Baldwin assisted the man back to his hunting party and was clear of the scene at 8:25 p.m.

New York Wildfire-Fighters Return Home:
A team of 20 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers, staff, and volunteers who helped battle and contain wildfires in Sonoma County, California, returned home last week. This is the third New York firefighting crew dispatched to fight wildfires in western states this year. When the New York crew arrived in California, 23 lives had been lost and hundreds of homes were destroyed or threatened by the worst wildfire in California history. By the time the crew departed, a total of 7,010 structures were destroyed and another 487 structures damaged. Currently, the fire is 95 percent contained and full containment is expected by the end of the month. The firefighting team is made up of DEC employees and volunteers, including State Forest Rangers that joined crews from other states to help battle the wildfires.

Group picture of the New York firefighting crew of DEC Forest Rangers
People walking past a smoking building
people battling the wildfire

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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