Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Tuesday, June 13, 2023

DEC Forest Rangers - Week in Review

Recent Statewide Forest Ranger Actions

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 across New York State.

In 2022, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 359 search and rescue missions, extinguished 162 wildfires covering more than 1,300 acres, participated in 53 prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate nearly 900 acres of land, and worked on cases that resulted in hundreds of tickets and arrests.

"With more people visiting State lands and enjoying New York's myriad, world-class outdoor recreational opportunities, DEC's Forest Rangers are on the front lines to help visitors get outside responsibly and get home safely," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Each day, these highly trained first responders are protecting irreplaceable natural resources and utilizing their expert knowledge of wildland fire suppression, wilderness first aid, land navigation, law enforcement, and technical rescue techniques to successfully execute critical missions, for DEC and our countless local, state, and national partners."

Town of Windham
Green County
Wilderness Search:
On June 6 at 7:45 p.m., Forest Rangers Allwine and Fox responded to a report of two subjects from Central Valley lost in the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness. Through cell phone coordinates and calls, Ranger Fox narrowed down the location of the 60- and 59-year-olds on the Escarpment Trail. Ranger Allwine found the pair, cold and exhausted, at the Batavia Kill lean-to. Rangers assessed the two subjects and helped them hike out to Big Hollow trailhead. Resources were clear at 12:15 a.m.

Hamlet of Poestenkill
Rensselaer County
From June 7 to 9, the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control hosted an Emergency Boating Operation and Rescue class for 13 Forest Rangers utilizing new inflatable rescue boats. Rangers spent the first day reviewing swift water hydrology, rescue size-up, and proper boat maintenance. On the second day, Rangers practiced flat water maneuvering skills and flipping a capsized boat. A Forest Ranger airboat was integrated into the training for rescue responses. On the third day, the training was held below a lock on the Mohawk River where a dam release created water conditions that resemble a flood environment. Rangers demonstrated skills such as boat ferrying, peel outs, eddy turns, victim retrieval, and boat towing. Skills learned over the three-day class will help Rangers respond to swift water and flood water emergencies.

Rangers in inflatable rescue boats at Emergency Boating
Operation and Rescue training

Rangers in inflatable rescue boats at Emergency Boating Operation
and Rescue training

Forest Ranger airboat at Emergency Boating Operation and Rescue

Town of Ossian
Livingston County
On June 8, Crew Chief Hoist Operators Forest Rangers Chappell and Cordell, along with New York State Police (NYSP) pilots, conducted crew chief training at Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area. Four Rangers and two Assistant Forest Rangers (AFR) performed personnel and litter hoists. The Rangers also refreshed their skills in litter assembly and breakdown, harness tying, how to move in and around a helicopter, and hand signals for communicating with pilots.

Lt. Wickens at hoist training

Rangers Cordell and Miller, and AFR Nichter conduct a litter hoist

Hamlet of Calverton
Suffolk County
Wildland Fire:
Among the numerous wildfires Forest Rangers responded to in recent weeks, Ranger Gallagher responded to a wildfire on June 11 at 11:29 a.m., in Calverton that was burning on both Suffolk County and Nature Conservancy properties. By 4 p.m., 25 fire departments had contained the 13-acre fire with a bulldozer line. Forest Rangers, volunteers, Central Pine Barrens staff, and Suffolk County Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services are continuing mop up duty and assisting in operations.

Town of Caledonia
Livingston County
Failure to Comply:
On June 11 at 5:15 p.m., Forest Ranger Cordell attempted to stop a vehicle for multiple vehicle and traffic law violations on Route 5 in Avon. The subject refused to pull over. Ranger Cordell requested additional support from Livingston County Sheriff's Deputies and Avon Police. The subject made it back to his home in Caledonia and barricaded himself inside. At 6:30 p.m., the subject was talked out of his home and taken to the NYSP barracks in Geneseo. Ranger Cordell charged the subject with three misdemeanors, including fleeing in a motor vehicle and two vehicle and traffic law violations.

Town of Lake George
Warren County
Wildland Fire:
On June 12 at approximately 11 a.m., a DEC docking crew noticed a fire on Floating Battery Island. Forest Ranger Donegan and a local fire department responded and quickly contained the fire. No structures or campers were threatened. The cause of the fire was a campfire that had not been properly extinguished. Campers are reminded to use a lot of water and make sure a fire is cold to the touch before leaving it unattended. Read more tips on our Fire Safety When Camping page.

Fire in town of Lake George

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hike Smart, NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it's for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - Jeff Wernick
    625 Broadway Albany, NY 12233-1016
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions