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NEWS STORIES

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

MANITOWOC - The U.S. Coast Guard says the body of a missing sailor may have been found on a beach in Manitowoc County.

The body was found Tuesday near private property near the town of Clover, south of Manitowoc. A medical examiner is at the beach, which is blocked off.

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THREE LAKES - The DNR hopes it won't find more Northwoods deer with chronic wasting disease.

Last year, a deer on a game farm near Three Lakes tested positive for the deadly disease. Although it hopes that incident is isolated, the DNR wants more data on the health of the Northwoods deer herd.

The agency is urging hunters near Three Lakes to give their deer heads to the DNR for CWD testing.

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RHINELANDER - Firefighters never know exactly what to expect from a house fire, but they do know the safety of people and animals come first.

On Monday, local firefighters rescued Emmy, a house cat, from her home in Sugar Camp.

"We actually have a pet rescue kit, it's an oxygen mask that we can put over their snout, their nose and mouth, and we can apply oxygen to them that way," said Pine Lake firefighter Blake Jensen.

The rescue kit worked, and Emmy regained her energy and gave her rescuers hope.

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EAGLE RIVER - The streets in Eagle River got an extra wash on Tuesday and not just from the rain.

The Light and Water Utility spent most of the day flushing fire hydrants.

The city flushes the hydrants twice a year, once in the spring and fall.

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MILWAUKEE - Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is meeting with campaign volunteers in Wisconsin, including Gov. Scott Walker's son.

Pence stopped by a Republican campaign headquarters outside of Madison Tuesday after spending the afternoon with Walker preparing for his debate next week with Democrat Tim Kaine.

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BOULDER JUNCTION -
The Boulder Junction Town Board voted two to one Tuesday night to move forward with a town plaza plan. The plan will now go to a design phase. 

The board estimated the cost of the design phase to be between $30,000 to $50,000, but it was dropped to about $25,000 at the meeting.

Town Chairman Dennis Reuss and Town Supervisor Dennis Duke voted in favor, with Town Supervisor Denny McGann voting against the plan. 



A little more than $1 million may not seem like a lot of money to a city like Madison or Milwaukee. But for a town of fewer than one thousand people, it's a lot. The Boulder Junction Town Board could vote Tuesday whether or not to move onto the next phase of a $1.26 million town plaza project. 

Dennis Duke has a vision of what Boulder Junction could look like in a few years. 

"This one has a much more artistic flair, this has a more engineering flair if you will," said Duke while looking at potential design plans. 

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CONOVER - Vilas County could see more ATVs on the road. 

Complaints about the popular sport decreased within the last year as safety precautions increased. 

"It's just a good way to get together and have a good time with a lot of comradery," said President of the Landover ATV/UTV Club Roger Flaherty.

Flaherty started the Landover ATV club in 2001 with him and his grandson as the first members. 

Now the club has over 300 members.

 His grandson is the trail boss and is responsible for making sure riders stay safe, by putting up road and route signs. Keeping riders safe was an important part of the clubs growth.

"Well it makes me feel really good it's an accomplishment.

 I was told many times it would never happen and I heard "no" so [many times] I didn't think there was any alternative word," said Flaherty. 

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