NEWS STORIES

More Northwoods crews head West as national fire problem growsSubmitted: 08/16/2013

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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.



Story By: Lyndsey Stemm

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Northwoods house catches fireSubmitted: 04/17/2014

TOMAHAWK - A home in Tomahawk caught fire Thursday afternoon.

The fire happened near Lake Alice on Pine Shore Lane.

Police say an elderly couple owned the home, but we don't know if they were home at the time of the fire.

We also don't know how the fire started, but we'll give you more information on the fire when it becomes available.

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Street to be named after Rhinelander soldier killed in AfghanistanSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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RHINELANDER - Enemy forces killed Rhinelander's Ryan Adams in Afghanistan five years ago.

Now, the Northwoods community will name a street in his honor.

Adams was a graduate of Rhinelander High School.

He served in the Rhinelander-based 951st Sapper Company of the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

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Cleaning up the messSubmitted: 04/17/2014

RHINELANDER - Snow blowers became the weapon of choice across northern Wisconsin as snow piled deeper and deeper.

People had ten inches or more of snow to clear from driveways and sidewalks this morning.

Some may have stayed home today.

But those who needed to get out had to move the snow.

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Record breaking snowfall knocks the power out Submitted: 04/17/2014

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RHINELANDER - Our record breaking snow storm left more than 6,000 people across the Northwoods without power.

WPS had to rely on 20 extra crews from Green Bay, Wausau and Menominee to restore power.

But getting to the outages was a challenge.

A representative for WPS says workers are expecting even more outages to be reported.

"Not all of the back roads are plowed yet and that's where a lot of outages are located," said Leah Van Zile, WPS Community Relations leader. "Throughout the day as the temperatures warm, we expect to receive additional calls due to the unloading of snow off of the tree branches."

Eagle River had one of the highest number of customers affected by the outages.

Representatives for WPS say this was one of the hardest winters they've had to deal with.

"We've had some really, really severe wind chills which has really made the temperatures below zero. Typically, only in emergencies do we work in those conditions," said Van Zile. "But pretty much any other time, whether it's a rain storm, a snow storm, a wind storm, our guys are out there working, getting that power back on."

The number of outages dropped below 4,000 since earlier today.

If you're still without power to call 1800-450-7240.

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Man charged with attempted homicide could get all charges dismissedSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man will get a second chance after shooting his uncle.

At first, prosecutors charged 24-year-old Marcus Alsteens with attempted murder, but he might end up with a clean record.

Alsteens led police on a car chase through Oneida County in 2013 before being caught near Eagle River. That was after shooting his uncle at a Mason Street home in Rhinelander.

Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek initially charged him with attempted homicide, battery and two other charges.

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LP conversion of sheriff's cars nears completionSubmitted: 04/17/2014

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VILAS COUNTY - As many as 20 Vilas County Sheriff's patrol cars now run on both liquid propane and gasoline.

That could save the department more than $295,000 over the next 5 years.

The department started converting the cars last November.

A company in Michigan installed 20-gallon propane tanks in the trunks of the cars.

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Rhinelander food pantry volunteers Submitted: 04/17/2014

RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry relies heavily on volunteers. Here is a look inside the operation.

(Click the video to watch)

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