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.
RHINELANDER - A large open lot on Rhinelander's east side could soon fill in with a chain restaurant.
Cory Moritz-Hoffmann and her husband hope to build a Pizza Ranch next to Kwik Trip on Eisenhower Parkway. The pair of former Pine Lake firefighters got the idea about six years ago when they first went to a Pizza Ranch in Iowa.
They considered pursing a franchise then, but it was more than they could afford at the time. About two years ago, the Hoffmanns contacted an investor and saw an opportunity to turn their dream into a reality.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander factory that makes smoke flavoring caught fire early Monday morning.
Shortly before 6:00 a.m., Rhinelander, Crescent and Newbold Fire Departments responded to a fire at Red Arrow Products on Rhinelander's west side.
An employee says there were about eight workers inside at the time.
No one was injured.
"Flames were coming out of a conveyor area as high as the roof. We made an interior attack and knocked that flame down. Came in from the other side of the partition wall, then made another interior attack and knocked that down," says Chief Terry Williams.
As of 7:30 a.m. Monday morning, firefighters were still working to make sure the flames were out.
RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker has selected a former legislator to run the state Department of Natural Resources.
Walker's office announced Monday that he has chosen former Republican state Rep. Dan Meyer to serve as DNR secretary. He replaces Cathy Stepp, who resigned in August to take a position in President Donald Trump's administration.
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