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DEC Statewide Forest Ranger Highlights
Forest Ranger Actions for 12/11 – 12/17/17
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 2016, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 356 search and rescue missions, extinguished 185 wildfires that burned a total of 4,191 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in nearly 3,000 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 is 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 Harpersfield
Search:* On Dec. 13 at 1:40 p.m., Forest Rangers were called by the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office requesting assistance to locate a missing hunter, Carl Weaver, 77. Mr. Weaver left his residence on Dec. 10, and has been missing since that date. Officers located the hunter’s vehicle parked at the corner of Titus Lake Road and South Worcester Hill Road in Harpersfield, Delaware County. For the past five days, Forest Rangers, under a unified command post at the Jefferson Fire Department and with the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Department, have organized more than 100 personnel per day and searched over 1,700 acres of wilderness. Personnel from the following agencies have assisted with the ongoing search effort: Delaware and Schoharie County Sheriff’s and emergency management offices; Schoharie, Delaware, Greene, Albany, Schenectady, Otsego, and Fulton county fire departments; New York State Police; DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs); Schoharie County Search & Rescue; NY Federation of Search and Rescue; Stamford, Jefferson, Hobart, Cobleskill, Summit, and Grand Gorge fire departments; Salvation Army; and the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. In addition to ground personnel, search efforts have utilized helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, also known as drones), K-9 units, and off-road vehicles. The search areas consist of steep, slippery, snow-covered terrain, which has resulted in several injuries to searchers. Search efforts will continue this week. Anyone with information should call the Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office at (607) 652-3617.
*Town of Bolton
Rescue and Recovery:* On Dec. 16 at approximately 4 p.m., Forest Ranger Evan Donegan responded to a call from Warren County 911 reporting two people had fallen through the ice on Edgecomb Pond in the town of Bolton. The Bolton Fire Department was just getting one subject into the ambulance for treatment when Ranger Donegan arrived. He quickly donned a cold water rescue suit and assisted the Warren County dive team to shuttle equipment across the pond to where the underwater search was initiated. Approximately 50 minutes after the subject had submerged, a diver located the man’s body in approximately 12 feet of water. The subject was brought to shore in a sled by Ranger Donegan and Bolton Ambulance. The body was released to the county coroner and the State Police are continuing their investigation.
DEC reminds ice anglers to use caution and commonsense as ice fishing season begins across much of New York State. Four inches or more of solid ice is considered to be safe for anglers accessing ice on foot. Ice anglers should note that ice thickness can vary on every body of water and even on the same body of water. For more information on ice fishing [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7733.html ], visit DEC’s webpage.
Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28708.html ] and Adirondack Backcountry Information [ http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html ] webpage for more information.
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