Dry Conditions and Campfire Lead To Wildland Fire At Sand Banks
By Fire Chief Robert Crowe
June 24, 2020

The extremely dry conditions coupled with an ill-advised campfire led to a wildland fire at the Sand Banks that kept firefighters busy for more than five hours. At 1904 hours, Canton Fire and Rescue was dispatched to the Sand Banks on outer Park Street for a reported fire in the woods. Engine 8, Tanker 20, Rescue 36 along with UTV 4 arrived on the scene within 10 minutes. Captain Tim Gavin arrived shortly ahead of the responding units and relayed that there was a fire of significant size in the woods and it appeared to be spreading quickly. UTV 4 and it's brush fire unit were placed into service along with numerous personnel with brush packs and hand tools. Two portable pumps were transported back into the fire location to draft water from the river and supply hose lines stretched through the woods. St. Lawrence University Security and Safety officers provided invaluable assistance in shuttling personnel and equipment back to the Sand Banks using their patrol UTV. Inicident Commander First Assistant Chief Shawn McGregor requested additional assistance from Pyrites Fire and Rennselaer Falls Fire to the scene to rotate in to the fire and allow the Canton members to come out and go through the rehab area established by the Canton Rescue EMS personnel. Two Forest Rangers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation also responded to assist and lend their expertise to the extinguishment effort.

At the height of firefighting operations there were over 40 personnel working to contain, control and extinguish the fire. In additon to UTV 4, an ATV operated by Pyrites Fire was also utilized along with numerous chain saws, hand tools, and over 1200 feet of fire hose. Forest Rangers were going to return and check the status of the fire in the morning and Canton personnel were expecting to return to cool any hot spots than remain. Twenty three members of Canton Fire and Rescue responded to the incident. All units were back in service at 2351.

We would like to thank our mutual aid partners along with the Forest Rangers, St. Lawrence Safety and Security, and Canton PD for their assistance. We would also like to thank the staff at 7-Eleven (Sunoco) on Main Street for working quickly to fill our large pizza order and for donating two cases of water to help rehydrate our members, The community support is greatly appreciated.

Units: Engine 8, Tanker 20, Rescue 1, Rescue 36, UTV 4, Ambulance 132
Mutual Aid: Pyrites Fire, Rennselaer Falls Fire, DeKalb Fire, NYS DEC Forest Rangers, Canton PD, St. Lawrence University Security