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NEWS STORIES

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

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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.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
Perfect for the holidays- Northwoods woman donates kidney to friend Submitted: 12/17/2014

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SUGAR CAMP - You might find all the joy you need this Christmas between two best friends.

Jean Neumann and Patty Bonack fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.

They've shared a friendship for four years, but now they share something else.

Neumann found out she needed a kidney transplant in May.

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On the Wilderness Act's 50th anniversary, acquaint yourself with pristine areas of northern WisconsinSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - The first thing you notice in this forest is the silence.

That's the way it was meant to be at Blackjack Springs Wilderness east of Eagle River.

It's a venerable forest, to be sure, but the harvest here isn't timber.

"A Wilderness area," Bob Martini says, "what you're harvesting here feeds the soul."

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After Wisconsin deer harvest fall, Upper Peninsula numbers plummetSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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UPPER PENINSULA - The deer harvest during the gun season fell more than 15 percent in Wisconsin from a year ago.

In the Upper Peninsula, the drop was even worse.

Early results show the deer harvest in the U.P. was down 30 to 40 percent compared to 2013.

Registrations at some check stations dropped as much as 60 percent during the 16-day season in late November.

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Study: Lincoln County professional departments well trained in hazardous materials, volunteer departments need workSubmitted: 12/17/2014

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MERRILL - Would responders in Lincoln County know how to best handle a hazardous material spill in their area?

It might depend on where that spill happens.

A study for a county committee found a big gap in how prepared certain departments might be to handle hazardous materials.

For the most part, professional fire departments and law enforcement are trained well to respond.

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Plea deal in Tomahawk marijuana plant bustSubmitted: 12/17/2014

LINCOLN COUNTY - The second of two people arrested for having 44 marijuana plants reached a plea deal in Lincoln County Court on Wednesday.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jessica Teich pled no contest to a felony for having a drug trafficking place.

She also pled no contest to two misdemeanors for having THC and drug paraphernalia.

The felony charge will be dismissed if Teich successfully completes her 18-month probation.

Tomahawk Police arrested Teich and 34-year-old Jamaal Wilson last April.

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Foundation sues state over contraception recordsSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the state to obtain records related to a decision not to enforce Wisconsin's contraceptive coverage law.

Gov. Scott Walker's administration announced in July it would no longer enforce the law against employers with religious objections in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruled companies with religious objections such as Hobby Lobby can avoid the contraceptive coverage requirement in the federal health care overhaul law.

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Walker looking at 6 to 7 agencies for changesSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says he's looking at consolidating or making ``major changes'' at six or seven state agencies.

Walker talked in general about his ideas for merging state government operations on Wednesday after speaking to Senate Republicans.

Walker says he doesn't think a special session will be necessary to do that, but he does hope the Legislature will act quickly on the ideas early on. He says he learned from the creation of public-private economic development agency that it's better to have more time to transition into something new than not.

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