New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents throughout New York State. 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.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers.
Town of South Valley, Cattaraugus County
Wildland Fire: On Nov. 13 at 3 p.m., New York State Parks Police alerted Forest Rangers to a wildfire burning in Pennsylvania heading toward Allegany State Park in New York. At 6:25 p.m., Ranger Skudlarek found approximately 45-acres burning in the State Park. U.S Forest Service firefighters contained the fire. On Nov. 14, six Forest Rangers worked with the U.S. Forest Service fire team to continue fire suppression efforts. On Nov. 15, fire crews put the fire in patrol status.
Town of East Fishkill, Dutchess County
Wildland Fire: On Nov. 16 at 1 p.m., Forest Ranger Lieutenant Ashida and Ranger Russo responded to a brush fire on the westbound side of I-84 in East Fishkill. A vehicle that produced sparks on the roadway is believed to have caused four separate fires within a one-mile stretch of the interstate, forcing New York State Police to close the right lane of the highway. Beekman, East Fishkill, Lake Carmel, Patterson, Pawling, and Rombout Fire Departments extinguished the four fires, with the largest blaze measuring approximately three quarters of an acre. Resources were clear at 4 p.m.
Town of Caneadea, Allegany County
Wildland Fire: On Nov. 16 at 5:15 p.m., Forest Rangers and DEC Foresters responded to a brush fire in Rush Creek State Forest. Angelica, Belfast, Centerville, Clarksville, Cuba, Fillmore, New Hudson, Rushford, and Short Tract Fire Departments responded along with ambulances from Belfast, Houghton, and Rushford.
The Allegany County Sheriff’s Department drone unit and county and district coordinators also joined the effort to get the fire under control. The fire was contained before growing to 138-acres and destroying a seasonal cabin and sheds near the State Forest. Rangers continue to patrol the area for hot spots. The cause of the fire is believed to be an unattended backcountry campfire.
Town of Keene, Essex County
Wilderness Search: On Nov. 17 at 7:25 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call about two overdue hikers hiking Mount Marcy. The pair from Brewster had proper clothing and headlamps and texted friends at 4:42 p.m. to advise they were on their way down the trail.
At 9:02 p.m., Ranger Lewis made voice contact with the hikers and located them a short time later near an old ski trail. One of the subjects had severe leg cramps. Ranger Duchene hiked in with extra water for the pair. Rangers helped the hikers back to Adirondak Loj at 10:20 p.m.
Town of Hardenburgh, Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue: On Nov. 18 at 2 p.m., Forest Rangers Horn and Sweeney overheard radio traffic regarding an injured hunter in Hardenburgh. The 67-year-old from Margaretville fell and injured his head, ribs, and leg. Arkville, Fleischmanns, Halcottsville, and Margaretville Fire Departments packaged the patient and began an evacuation. Rangers Horn and Sweeney assisted with the half-mile carryout. A LifeNet helicopter flew the hunter to the hospital. Resources were clear at 6 p.m.
Town of Altona, Franklin County
Wilderness Search: On Nov. 18 at 10:10 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call about a lost hunter in the vicinity of Plank Road in Altona. The reporting party had communication with the hunter using a two-way radio but did not have location coordinates. Forest Rangers Odell and Russell responded along with Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Lieutenant Younglove.
The Officers searched the highest probability areas with negative results. The 80-year-old hunter said he was 30 feet from a creek. Rangers continued searching overnight. The following morning, a New York State Police aviation crew and ECO Fadden joined 11 Rangers in the search efforts. At 6:39 a.m., Rangers Corey and Mecus located the subject in good health and walked him back to his hunting camp.
Town of German, Chenango County
Wilderness Recovery: On Nov. 18 at 10:45 p.m., Forest Rangers Oldroyd responded to a call for an overdue hunter. One of the 72-year-old’s hunting partners called to report he never made it back to their hunting camp. The Chenango County Sheriff’s Office, Chenango County Search and Rescue Team, and the Genegantslet Fire Department joined Rangers in the search. At 3 a.m. search crews located the hunter from New Jersey, deceased. The hunter was turned over to the Greene Ambulance Squad and the coroner.
Read past Forest Ranger search and rescue reports here.
Photo of East Fishkill fire provided by DEC.