RAY BROOK - Using chainsaws, firefighters cut out a swath of trees to contain a forest fire along the north side of the railroad tracks, roughly halfway between Ray Brook and Lake Placid.
As of 5:45 p.m., about 75 firefighters, with the help of a half-dozen or so state forest rangers, had restricted the blaze to about a 150-foot stretch on the north side of the tracks, anywhere from 20 to 40 feet deep into the woods. The fire break they cut through the woods was about 50 feet back from the tracks. The land there is state Forest Preserve.
Some of the first firefighters to respond to the scene said flames were shooting up 30 to 40 feet high when they got there, but by later in the afternoon it had been reduced to mostly smoldering ground and some burning spots.
A firefighter works at the scene of a forest fire along the railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Ray Brook Thursday.
(Enterprise photo - Chris Knight)
The wind has been a problem, blowing the fire from west to east. So has been a lack of water with which to douse the fire.
The Adirondack Scenic Railroad train, prevented from making its scheduled run of tourists, switched into firefighting mode. About 5:20 p.m. it arrived at the fire site from Saranac Lake, carrying firefighters and equipment such as hoses, pumps and chainsaws. Firefighters dropped 50-foot sections of hose from the train as it rolled along the tracks to a small creek, which they used as a water source to extinguish flames. That was the only water they had, other than what they were able to haul in on brush trucks.
The power lines that supply all of Lake Placid's electricity run along the railroad corridor, but they do not appear to be threatened. A man from National Grid is present at the fire scene.
Firefighters from Saranac Lake and Lake Placid were the first to respond, and those from the Bloomingdale, Paul Smiths-Gabriels and Wilmington departments are also working at the scene.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation declared a high fire danger earlier today because of the recent warm and dry weather.
Chris Knight is reporting from the fire scene. If you have news tips, anecdotes of how the fire affected you, or comments, you can contact him at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.