[Photos] Busy Week for NYS DEC – Hiker Rescue, Wildland Fires and Prescribed Burns
National Grid crews working to restore power to parts of New York hit hardest by the post-Easter Nor'easter aren't the ones who've recently been put to the test by Mother Nature.
Forest Rangers with the New York State Department of Conservation had a busy week extinguishing wildland fires, conducting prescribed burns in specified areas, pulling a truck out of the wilderness, and rescuing an injured hiker in Herkimer County, among other things.
On April 11 and 12, Forest Rangers conducted prescribed burns at locations in Monroe and Onondaga counties.
April 11: Rangers conducted a prescribed burn at Rush Oak Openings Unique Area. Rangers burned approximately 50 acres of warm season grasses to maintain proper vegetative cover.
April 11 and 12: Forest Rangers, DEC Wildlife Staff, and DEC Wildland Firefighters conducted prescribed burns at Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area in the town of Lysander and Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area in the town of Cicero. A total of 67 acres were burned in an effort to improve and maintain grassland habitat for wildlife.
April 11: Forest Rangers are joined by help rescue a hiker on Rondaxe Mountain in Herkimer County after a fall and injury near the summit.
Forest Ranger Lt. Hoag and Rangers Evans, McCartney, Milano, Miller, Shea, and Thomes responded to the Herkimer County Town of Webb. EMTs from Old Forge Ambulance administered care to the 57-year-old hiker from Sherrill. Rangers conducted the technical rope work necessary to safely lower the subject down the mountain through four steep-angle locations to an ambulance. The hiker was transported to Old Forge Airport where Mercy Flight flew him to the hospital. Also assisting in the rescue were members of DEC's Division of Law Enforcement, Old Forge Fire, Inlet Fire, Eagle Bay Fire, and Webb Police.
April 13: Allen Lake State Forest in Alleghany County - Rangers help two a pair of fisherman get home after winding up lost on an abandoned road.
On April 13, Forest Rangers Krulish and Thaine received a report of two anglers stranded in a pickup truck on Allen Lake State Forest. Rangers spoke to the 68- and 72-year-olds and determined they were following GPS directions after a fishing trip and ended up on an abandoned road, unable to turn around. Because one of the subjects needed their medication, which was back at their camp, Rangers walked in and escorted the subjects back to their camp. A tow truck with specialized off-road equipment arrived at 9:15 p.m. to assist the stuck vehicle and resources were clear by 10 p.m.
April 14-15: Forest Rangers across New York responded to seven (7) wildland fires in Warren, Saratoga, Ulster, Steuben and Chemung counties.
Wildland Fire: On April 14 at 9:30 p.m., National Grid requested Forest Ranger assistance during a storm response to bring a power line across the Schroon River in the towns of Warrensburg and Horicon after the previous line was damaged. Using a line gun, Rangers used their expertise in swift water navigation techniques to safely establish a line and haul rope across the seasonally elevated river. This allowed the National Grid crews to pull new primary wires across and continue their work to restore power to the northern Bolton area.
Wildland Fire: On April 15 at 2:25 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with a wildland fire off of County Route 10 in the town of Corinth. Rangers Baker, Poulton, and St. Claire responded, in addition to the Corinth, Edinburg, and Greenwich fire departments. The fire started with an outdoor campfire for cooking and spread to 7.8 acres, destroying a cabin. At 9:12 p.m., the fire was put into patrol status and declared out on April 16.
Wildland Fire: On April 15 at 3:45 p.m., Forest Rangers Franceschina, Martin, and Rusher responded to a report of a fire in the town of Olive. The fire was caused by downed powerlines and burned approximately four acres of land. The fire was officially declared out on April 16 at 12:38 p.m.
Wildland Fire: On April 15 at 4:50 p.m. Ulster County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance with a fire at Foordmore Road in the town of Wawarsing. Rangers Franceschina and Rusher responded to the fire, which spread to 12 acres. By 7:30 p.m., Rangers put the fire in patrol status. The next morning, Rangers returned to put out the remaining hotspots.
Wildland Fire: On April 15 at 3 p.m., Steuben County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance with a brush fire in the town of Woodhull. Rangers Cordell and Roberts responded and declared the fire contained at 4:17 p.m. The fire was caused by downed power lines and burned 4.7 acres.
Wildland Fire: On April 15 at 6:10 p.m., Environmental Conservation Police Officer Lifrieri contacted Forest Ranger Lieutenant Wickens about a brush fire on Drybrook Road in the village of Waverly. Rangers Burkholder, Cordell, and Roberts, as well as multiple responding fire departments, put out the 15-acre fire. Ranger Roberts determined the fire started with someone burning brush. Resources were clear at 8:50 p.m. DEC's investigation is ongoing.
April 16: Swiftwater Rescue Training in Cattaraugus County
Swiftwater Rescue/Rope Training: On April 16, Ranger Sprague participated in a multi-county swift water and technical rope training. More than 20 agencies including police, fire, and search and rescue teams participated. The day-long event focused on techniques using motorized boats and highline rope systems to rescue individuals who could become trapped in swift water conditions.