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For Release: Tuesday, February 26, 2019

DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights

Forest Ranger Actions for 2/18 - 2/24/19

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 Brookhaven
Suffolk County
Wildland Search:
On Feb. 22, a 14-year-old youth was reported missing after not returning on schedule from a family member's residence. One Forest Ranger assisted Suffolk County Police in the search and within two hours, the youth was located in good health by a police department K-9.

Town of Lake Luzerne
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Feb. 23, a 49-year-old Lake George woman was seriously injured in a snowmobiling accident after the snowmobile rolled on top of her. Two Forest Rangers responded along with a Warren County Sheriff's Deputy and Lake Luzerne Ambulance Squad. When first responders arrived, they found the woman pinned under her snowmobile. She was evacuated and transported to Saratoga Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Town of Italy
Yates County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Feb. 23, two men from the town of Greece were participating in geocaching activities on High Tor Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when one of the men lost his footing, slid into Clark's Gully, and was unable to get himself out due to icy conditions. They called 911 and DEC Forest Rangers, Yates County Sheriff's Deputies, Naples Fire Department and Ambulance, and the Ontario County High Angle Rope Rescue Team responded. Historically, the location requires a technical rope rescue to extricate people who have fallen into the gully and this incident was no different. Rescuers set up a rope and safety system that would allow rescuers to lead the man out of an area close to a frozen waterfall. Within a few hours, all were safely out of the area, and neither hikers nor rescuers required any medical treatment.

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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