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

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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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/25/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Chelsea Clinton is in Stevens Point today campaigning for her mother. Will hear what she has to say about her mom's presidential bid.

American Legion National Commander Charles Schmidt stopped by the Wausau post this morning and listened to Post 10 members tell stories and offer suggestions to bring to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. You'll hear what he feels are the important issues veterans are facing.

And we'll give you a preview inside the Park Falls House of Horrors which participants say is guaranteed to frighten anyone this Halloween.

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

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MADISON - Groups challenging Wisconsin's voter identification law in court don't believe the state's plan for additional education will do enough.

Earlier this month, federal Judge James Peterson approved a Department of Transportation plan to clarify the process for people who lack photo ID to get voting credentials.

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The court-approved plan includes handouts and website clarifications.

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GREEN BAY - Newly released emails show Green Bay's city clerk refused to set up an early voting site on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus in part because she feared the site would help Democrats.

One Wisconsin Institute, a liberal advocacy group, obtained emails from City Clerk Kris Teske that show state Rep. Eric Genrich, a Green Bay Democrat, was pressing her in August to open an early voting site on the campus. Teske refused, citing budget constraints, ballot security and staffing issues.

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WAUSAU - This fall Wausau's Woodson Art Museum will bring together artists from all over the world. 

The Birds in Art exhibit gives artists an opportunity to share a piece of themselves with their audience.

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WISCONSIN - This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history.

The totals cement Wisconsin's title as the best state in the U.S. for bear harvests with 4,643 registered.

But it wasn't all good news for bear hunters. 

This year also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths.

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MERRILL - The Merrill Fire Department sees the need for more, younger EMTs to get into the business. Like other area departments, it wants to ensure its staff will stay strong for years into the future.

People like Dylan Schielke can help make that happen.

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board always knew it would need to replace Supervisor Bryan Jennings eventually. But the Board didn't think it happen so soon.

Jennings died September 8, two days after he was struck by lightning while walking his dog.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim says the Town is now accepting letters of interest from anyone wanting to fill Jennings's seat.

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