STATEWIDE - Although it's fairly damp in much of the Northwoods now , that could change quickly. When the snow is gone, last year's leaves will dry out fast, and make the perfect fuel for forest fires.
"Generally spring is our most dangerous fire season because all the dead and dry vegetation, and that's typically time of year that we have the least amount of humidity," said John Gillen a Forest Ranger with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Recources.
We've all seen the signs with Smokey the Bear alongside the road. Now is the time to follow his warning. Just one warm, windy day can push conditions from a low fire threat, to moderate or high. That makes it even more important to follow the rules before lighting a fire.
"Now that we've lost our snow cover, folks need to obtain a burning permit anytime that they wish to burn yard waste, such as leaves, needles, brush piles, those types of things," said Gillen.
Wind, humidity, temperature, and the timing of the last rainfall are the biggest factors in a wildfire. Gillen says to take extra care with long-burning fires, like wood boilers. They can take DAYS to completely die out, he says be especially careful with those ashes.
A winter weather advisory is in effect for most of our viewing area until 6pm tonight, and there are reports of 3 to 7 inches that have fallen in the area already. We'll bring you the latest on the biggest snowstorm of the season so far and take you live outside in Rhinelander to tell you about current road conditions.
We'll take you live to Green Bay and bring you the latest on Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers who was medically cleared to return from a collarbone injury and is expected to play this weekend against Carolina.
And the school board of Merrill will make a decision on details of a referendum which will be on the April ballot.
We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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