A FOREST FIRE IN THE ADIRONDACKS.
A New York State forestry official gives the following graphic account of firefighting in the Adirondacks:
“It was the middle of August, and the forests were dry as tinder. We were out in the woods surveying, when we noticed a dense smoke a mile or so to the right. Hastening in that direction, we found a marsh on fire. That may sound like a paradox; but you would not have considered it so, had you been there to feel the hot flames in your face and the cinders falling all over you. The marsh was so called in remembrance of former years when it Was covered with water. At this particular time it sustained a growth of Labrador tea moss and sphagnum moss. At first we cut boughs and tried to beat out the fire; but the wind fanned the flames, and it soon got round us. It was evening before help arrived, and by that time there was a fire line two miles long. We fought hard all that night, being helped by the dew and absence of wind. By morning we had the fire confined to a hardwood ridge, on which a number of fallen logs and stumps were blazing. It was decided to surround the ridge with a trench, and, tired as we were, every one went to work. Before the trench was completed, another wind reached the scene, and the fire was soon out of bounds. Several of the workers were almost cut off, and had to make a dash through the fire line to reach a point of safety. During the day messengers had summoned almost the entire college force—about 100 men—and we began the battle anew. There were four or five miles of fire line to be defended by this time, and Director Fernow spread us out like an army attacking in extended order A hundred could not do the work of a thousand, however, and the fourth day found the fire burning with more strength than ever. We threw up ditches away ahead of the fire in hope of stopping if in the hardwood ridges, where the wind is powerless. This did no good, as the fire got into the young timber, near the marsh, and ran like a racehorse. Some of the men wore hadly burned in attempting to get out of the way, and others were forced to take refuge in a neighboring lake. It was a sorry looking crowd of firefighters, and there was little hope in their faces. The fire burned on. Over in the cast, however. clouds were beginning to gather. It was a good sign and most welcome. Soon the sky was pierced by a vivid, glowing streak of lightning, and. with a roar as of battle, the thundershower swooped down upon us. There was a perfect ocean of rain, which soaked us to the skin in a moment We let the drops trickle down our parched throats, into smoke-reddened eyes, and over our blistered faces. In an hour the elements had succeeded in doing what man had tried for four days to accomplish. The forest was saved.”