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Forest Service employees ready for deploymentSubmitted: 06/13/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Fires destroyed nearly four hundred homes near Colorado Springs.

Emergency workers there have evacuated thousands of people in its path.

It's one of four fires burning in Colorado right now.

Crews here in Wisconsin are gearing up to help out in at a moment's notice.

Emergency crews from the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest haven't been deployed to Colorado just yet.

But it's almost certain that Forest Service employees will become firefighters somewhere before the summer is over.

"In my 30 years of being in the fire business, I cannot think of any year where the Forest Service was not involved in either fire or some other kind of disaster in the country," says Forest Service Fire Management Officer Jim Grant.

A group of Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest workers could be called to duty in Colorado or somewhere else soon.

They'll be ready within the next couple of days.

"Our crews are on the board, will be by this weekend. We'll have a crew on the board, a 20-person crew, ready to respond to any national incident outside of Wisconsin as well as in Wisconsin," says Grant.

Forest Service employees most recently helped with the Hurricane Sandy disaster on the East Coast.

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PLUM LAKE - St. Germain ATV riders will need to find a new route that avoids Plum Lake.

That's because the Plum Lake Town Board voted against opening up parts of two roads: Kurtzweil Road and Birch Spring Road. Both are on the border of Sayner and St. Germain and are shared between the two towns.

A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

Maines said most of the people in Plum Lake don't want ATVs on their town roads. The board found this out from a survey of residents and taxpayers they sent out in 2015, where he said about two-thirds of non-resident property owners and about two-thirds of Plum Lake resident voters voted against allowing ATVs on town roads.

"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

About 6 towns in the eastern part of Vilas County allow ATVs on town roads, but the towns in the western part of the county don't allow them on town roads.

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