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Special teams, including Rhinelander woman, work through Arizona tragedySubmitted: 07/05/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


YARNELL, AZ - Nineteen men died fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire in Arizona on Sunday.

Five days later, that fire still burns across almost 10,000 acres of the Arizona countryside.

The fire became a serious issue early last weekend.

Special teams were called from across the country to help with the fight.

Rhinelander's Suzanne Flory is a member of one of those elite incident response teams.

She and her team arrived before the firefighter deaths on Sunday.

"This has been a difficult fire for everybody. Prescott is right down the road from here. The Hotshot crew was from Prescott. A lot of them lived in this area with their families," she said Friday afternoon.

Firefighters and support crews grieve the loss of those 19 men.

But they also have to keep fighting a still-burning wildfire while they grieve.

"It's an interesting vegetation type out here. It burns really hot and really fast, and then you'll have some hotspots here and there around the perimeter. Right now, we're at 80% containment. We're hoping for 100% containment in the next couple of days," she said.

Several hundred firefighters are still working in central Arizona.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 01/16/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos responds to harsh criticism from Rhinelander's Robert Kinney, a former member of the Ethics Commission who resigned a month ago saying the board "require(s) too much secrecy and too little transparency."

We'll tell you why it's important to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species even in winter.

We'll introduce you to a Land O' Lakes elementary student who didn't want anything for himself this Christmas but instead wanted help from the community so he could give to his classmates.

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

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MINOCQUA - It takes a lot of guts to quit your day job and follow your passion. But one Minocqua woman has had success with her painting. And now she's sharing it with others.
Benson quit her job as a dental assistant three years ago to follow her passion as an artist.
"When I learned that I could make people happy with things I created…it was more of an encouragement for me to pursue it more," said Benson.
Now, she teaches others about how to step out of their comfort zones.
"Persuade you to take up something new or something you thought you couldn't do is always a good thing," said Benson.

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EAGLE RIVER - It took a couple years to come back, but lots of volunteers made sure Eagle River could get its ice castle back in time for the middle of winter.

The icy tradition took more than one-thousand hours to put together.

The Eagle River Fire Department and other volunteers stacked the 90 pound blocks over the last five days.

Each ice block is nearly uniform, so they fit together like legos. 

"It's a tedious process using those ice scrapers and getting that tight seam," said Fire Chief Michael Anderson.

Even though it took a lot of hours and manpower to get the job done, Anderson says they do it for the Eagle River community.

"I see it as an obligation for our community, to put it together because they like it so much and it brings so many tourists to the area," said Anderson. 

The castle will stay up as long as the weather stays cold. 

You can visit the castle at any time. It is near the railroad depot on Railroad Street in Eagle River.


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ANTIGO - In a week, the Christmas trees of Antigo will burn in a huge bonfire.

Community volunteers will burn the trees next Monday in the annual city event. This Monday, those trees disappeared from the streets.

City workers rounded up, crushed, and hauled away Christmas trees from the curb all across the city.

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PHILLIPS - The Phillips School District covers 600 square miles. That means a lot of time on the bus for many students, and a lot in fuel costs. This year Phillips is trying something new, hoping that investing a little extra money now pays off down the road.

The Phillips School District bought two new buses for this school year. Both buses run entirely on propane, rather than diesel. 

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RICE LAKE - Police say a man in a small northwestern Wisconsin community was killed after he followed through on his threat to explode a bomb in his apartment building.

Rice Lake police say 12 to 14 residents were evacuated before the explosion and subsequent fire that destroyed the one-story building Sunday night.

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EAGLE RIVER - An Eagle River girl with some special skills hopes you'll go online to support her.

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