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Crews contain a forest fire along the tracks between lake placid and Saranac Lake. Photo: Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Crews contain a forest fire along the tracks between lake placid and Saranac Lake. Photo: Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Crews battle fire along RR tracks

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Not long after the state issued a high fire danger advisory for the Adirondacks yesterday (Thursday), volunteer firefighters and forest rangers were called to the scene of a sizeable forest fire near Lake Placid.

The blaze scorched roughly two acres of state land along a remote stretch of the railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Ray Brook. The cause of the fire hasn't been determined. Chris Knight hiked into the site as crews were at work.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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At around 5 p.m. on Thursday, a crew of chainsaw-wielding Lake Placid firefighters was cutting a swath through the trees. They were working to create a fire break to prevent the smoldering blaze from spreading further into the woods.

More than 70 firefighters from at least six departments, and a half dozen forest rangers, were called out to battle this fire, which was fueled by high winds and dry conditions. They got to the remote site, at least two miles from the nearest road, on foot or by using ATVs and pickup trucks. An Adirondack Scenic railroad train also played a key role in the fire response, delivering roughly 40 firefighters, along with hoses, portable pumps, chainsaws and other equipment, to the scene.

By nightfall, the fire was contained using water drawn from nearby streams, but not before it consumed about two acres along the railroad tracks. “With the volunteers and the assistance of the rangers, we’ve got a line all the way around the fire,” Brad Jaques, Lake Placid's head fire driver, said. “They were able to establish a pretty good water source after a while down in there, really get some good water on it tonight. The rangers will be going back in in the morning with some shock crews from Moriah Correctional.”

Jaques said the cause of the fire is undetermined, but some firefighters and forest rangers speculated privately that sparks from the tourist train applying its breaks or a cigarette thrown from the train could have sparked the fire, although that was disputed by train personnel. Firefighters were out of the woods by about 9:30 p.m.

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