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Hot spots remain in forest fire (3rd update)

Dry conditions prompt state to issue residential burn ban

July 13, 2012
By staff ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

RAY BROOK - There are still hot spots in a 2-acre fire along the railroad between this hamlet and Lake Placid, state Department of Environ-mental Conservation officials said Friday afternoon.

DEC spokesman Dave Winchell, based in Ray Brook, said the fire is contained but not extinguished.

"The Adirondack Scenic Railroad Fire is still an active wildland fire with firefighting efforts continuing," Winchell wrote in an email to the Enterprise. "Firefighting efforts are expected to continue at least through tomorrow."

Two crews of inmates from the Moriah Shock prison helped five forest rangers fight the fire Friday, Winchell said.

On Thursday, more than 70 firefighters from at least six departments, plus a half-dozen state forest rangers and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad train and crew, worked for hours to contain the blaze to couple of acres of state Forest Preserve land on the north side of this remote stretch of railroad tracks.

Earlier Friday afternoon, the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department extinguished a small brush fire near Lake Colby, also next to the railroad. On Thursday, the SLVFD was also called to extinguish an abandoned campfire near Lower Saranac Lake's Crescent Bay.

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The DEC said brush fires in the Adirondacks have burned 8 acres of wild lands.

Dry, hot conditions around New York have prompted state officials to warn campers and boaters Friday about a high fire danger and low water levels. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would institute a residential ban on burning for 90 days and would suspend previously issued burning permits. A moratorium on new permits is also in effect through Oct. 10.

"These conditions should not be taken lightly," Cuomo said. "The potential for disastrous wildfires is present in all areas of the state."

The DEC hasn't banned campfires, but it's advising extra care including thoroughly dousing a campfire with water before leaving it.

The agency also warned boaters about hitting rocks because of low water levels in lakes and rivers.

Conditions have resulted partly from the mild winter with relatively little snowfall, while some areas have received about 25 percent of the normal spring and early summer rainfall, conservation officials said.

According to the governor's office, the state Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the situation. In April, Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Suffolk County, where brush fires threatened almost 1,200 acres of land. State police helicopters were used to drop water on hot spots on eastern Long Island.


The Associated Press contributed to this report from Albany.



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