Ray Brook Two wildfires started burning near the train tracks between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake Thursday, July 12 several hours after state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officials issued a high fire danger warning.
At about 2:30 p.m. a DEC forest ranger reported the first brush fire about 1.5 miles west of Old Military Road in Lake Placid, according to DEC spokesman Dave Winchell. The second was reported around 4:30 p.m.
Forest rangers are getting assistance battling the fires from local volunteers, including the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid fire departments.
Tourist trains on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad were canceled in the afternoon, according to Winchell, and the railroad line between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake was being exclusively used to bring emergency responders to the scene.
In the morning of July 12, DEC officials at Region 5 Headquarters in Ray Brook issued a high fire danger warning for the Adirondack Park. Recent warm and dry weather has created a high fire danger condition that allows wildfires to start easily and spread quickly with devastating effects. Three fires in the Adirondacks, one of which was started by an unattended campfire, had already burned 8 acres of wild lands by the time the warning was issued.
DEC strongly advises campers to be cautious with campfires:
• Use existing campfire rings when possible and keep fires small.
• Scrape away litter, duff, and any burnable material within a 10 foot diameter circle.
This will keep the campfire from spreading.
• Never leave a campfire unattended.
• Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again.
• Use a cooking stove instead of a campfire to prepare meals.
• Campfires are prohibited in Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.
DEC warns residents and visitors to avoid burning brush at this time especially from late morning through early evening and whenever windy conditions are present. Never leave a fire unattended until it is completely out and all ashes and embers are cool.
Also be cautious with barbeque grills, keep them away from brush, grass and other flammable materials. Don’t dispose of charcoal ashes or embers out until they are cool to the touch. The illegal use of fireworks can also start wildfires and should be avoided.
The DEC Fire Safety Outdoor web page (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7827.html) has additional safety tips for campfires and burning brush. More information on wildfire prevention may be found on the NY Firewise web pages (www.dec.ny.gov/public/42524.html).