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More Northwoods crews head West as national fire problem growsSubmitted: 08/16/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


RHINELANDER - Wildfires out west grew by nearly 50 percent in the past week. The state of Wisconsin has sent more than 300 crew members to help this month alone.

We showed you a crew leaving Woodruff last week for California. Another crew left Woodruff this morning. The 20 person team will go to Montana to fight a fire that started two days ago.

The wildfire situation nationwide is classified on a scale of one to five. Right now the country is at a four.

But that will likely bump up to the highest rating, a five, this weekend. That means we've used 80% of our national resources to fight fires across the country.

"Eighty percent of resources is made up of various equipment from bulldozers to helicopters to personnel to engines," says Jim Grant, from the U.S. Forest Service.

States won't send out all the resources they have. Each state holds back the minimum resources it would need for its own fire threat level.

When the country reaches level five, the military might have to help.

"The activation of the military comes from the president ultimately. When they're activated, it could be any branch of the military, but typically we see the United States Army, and even the Marines a lot of times, involved in this. Before they're put on the fire lines they're given training courses. They're given the basic training courses they need to continue to be safe out there before we put them on the lines," says Grant.

Right now there are $15,000 firefighters on the ground in 14 states. They're battling 40 large fires. To even be considered a large fire, thousands of acres have to be burning.

The fire season could last through October.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/06/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


A Lac Du Flambeau educator and activist gives us her reaction to the news that the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline says it does not plan to reroute the project in spite of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision not to grant an easement.

We'll tell you why forest health specialists are concerned that the deadly Oak Wilt disease in southern Wisconsin is now spreading into the Northwoods.

And we'll show you how donating a deer head will help DNR officials study Chronic Wasting Disease and give them more information for future hunting.


We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MADISON - Road builders, local governments, business leaders, agricultural interests and environmentalists are all getting a chance to weigh in on how to pay for improving Wisconsin's roads.

The state Assembly's Transportation Committee scheduled an informational hearing for Tuesday on the topic.

The state Department of Transportation faces a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall, which it is proposing solving through increased borrowing and delaying work on major projects.

Republican lawmakers are split on whether raising taxes and fees should also be considered as part of the mix.

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MADISON - The Republican chairman of the Legislature's budget committee says the proposed Wisconsin Department of Transportation budget for the next two years is essential a divestment in roads.

Rep. John Nygren's comments came Tuesday during testimony from DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb at an Assembly committee hearing. Nygren is joining with other lawmakers in questioning whether the budget put forward relying on half a billion dollars in borrowing and delaying projects is the most responsible plan.

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MADISON - University of Wisconsin System officials are poised to raise out-of-state and graduate tuition again to help offset the impact of Gov. Scott Walker's resident undergraduate tuition freeze.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on a plan Thursday that would raise out-of-state and graduate tuition by hundreds of dollars at six four-year campuses and all the system's two-year schools.

The largest increase would come at UW-Madison, which has proposed raising nonresident undergraduate tuition by $2,000 in each of the next two years and raising tuition for some graduate programs by as much as $5,000 annually.

The regents in 2015 approved raising nonresident and graduate tuition at eight four-year campuses and this past spring signed off on raising nonresident and graduate tuition at five schools.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - Prosecutors often struggle to turn a "He said, She said" case into a trial.

But the Lincoln County District Attorney's Office thinks it has enough to send a Merrill Police and Fire Commission member to prison.

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RHINELANDER - The Crescent Fire Department spent years trying to find a good place for a town pavilion. It turns out the best spot was right in its own backyard.

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LAND O' LAKES - Eric Hedberg dreams of more than a white Christmas.

"Everyone gathered around the tree watching Christmas movies, exchanging presents, taking my new niece sledding down the hill outside," said Hedberg.

This Christmas, the 17-year-old from Land O' Lakes wants his family together because this holiday is one that, six months ago, he wasn't sure if he would see.

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