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For Release: Monday, January 28, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 1/21 - 1/27/19

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 2018, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 346 search and rescue missions, extinguished 105 wildfires that burned a total of 845 acres, participated in 24 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 610 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,354 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 Waverly
Franklin County
On Jan. 22 at 3:30 p.m., DEC received a call from Franklin County reporting that the operator of a disabled trail groomer was unaccounted for. Another groomer had previously made radio contact with the subject, but lost communication. With temperatures dropping and night setting in, a secondary groomer headed up the trails to locate the stranded operator. Not far into the rescue, the second groomer broke down and stranded its operator on the snowmobile trail. One operator managed to request assistance. Three Rangers and two DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) developed a plan to come in from the north and south to locate the missing operator. At 5:01 p.m., ECO Favreau reported that he was with the operator of the remaining groomer near Benz Pond in the Madawaska Flow-Quebec Brook Primitive Area. The subject was prepared for cold weather and in good condition, and arrived back to the rescue assembly area by 5:36 p.m. With a groomer disabled in the middle of the trail on a potentially dangerous corner, ECOs and Rangers decided to temporarily close the trail to avoid any serious injury by users until hazards were cleared by Franklin County's groomers the following day.

Town of Cambridge
Washington County
On Jan. 24 at 2:20 p.m., DEC's Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for Ranger assistance from Washington County 911 regarding subjects stranded from floodwaters caused by ice jams, excessive rains, and melting snow. The subjects were isolated in two homes in rural areas. Rangers arrived on scene at about 2:50 p.m. One Ranger located a foot trail and walked in with additional Rangers and personnel from Salem Fire, Cossayuna Fire, Cambridge Fire, and Cambridge Valley EMS. Both subjects were located and while the homes were not threatened, the subjects likely to be cut off by floodwaters were evacuated. After the subjects were brought out to the road, the incident concluded at 5 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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