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

More Northwoods crews head West as national fire problem grows
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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 11/17/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll bring you the latest on a shooting that took place on West Mohawk Drive in Tomahawk Thursday evening. Police found and arrested the suspect near Eau Claire.

We talk to a registered sanitarian from the Vilas County Health Department about how to avoid getting sick from your Thanksgiving turkey.

And tonight on Friday Nights Blitz the Blitz team announces the winners of this year's Fall Awards in local high school sports.

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

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ANTIGO - Blaze orange and camouflage swarmed the front of Mills Fleet Farm in Antigo this morning.

People started lining up for Orange Friday 2017 around 4 a.m. for free hats and gift scratch offs!

More than 500 people filed in as the doors opened at 6 a.m.

The line didn't slow down for 15 minutes after that.

Many customers came to grab last-minute hunting gear including hunting licenses.

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WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers says he met yesterday with a senator who opposes the senate's tax overhaul plan.

Kevin Hassett tells reporters at the White House Friday that he met Thursday with Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who opposes the Senate bill that would slash the corporate tax rate and reduce personal income tax rates for many.

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RHINELANDER - The DNR's new secretary takes pride in being from the Northwoods.

Former assembly member Dan Meyer says that's actually one of the reasons Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) chose him for the position.

"I enjoy the outdoors. I have quite a background in fishing and hunting and biking and those sorts of things. I think people feel pretty good that there's somebody from the Northwoods, that understand the Northwoods, and won't forget the Northwoods," said Meyer.

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TOMAHAWK - A shooting in Tomahawk killed one person Thursday night.  Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins confirmed a male victim died after the shooting, which happened on West Mohawk Drive. Elvins wouldn't identify the victim or the suspect, who as of 7:45 p.m. police still had not found.

"I don't know the motive behind it, what triggered it, what was said. I have a detective now writing a search warrant. We have some evidence inside the house that we want to secure," said Elvins. "It appears to be an isolated incident." 

The chief did not believe anyone else is in danger.


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RHINELANDER - A man threatening to hurt himself and others with a knife sparked an hours-long standoff in Rhinelander Thursday. 

Police were called to the home of 21-year-old Mathew Smith on Highway 8 just before 10 a.m. All afternoon, police tried talking to Smith who wouldn't come out of his home. Smith, along with other people, and a child were inside the home at first. Police say within the first half an hour, everyone expect Smith got out safely.  

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LAONA - Spruce saplings his students planted decades ago have grown to tower above Don Kircher as he stands on a forest trail near Laona.

Kircher was a science teacher for 34 years in Laona, and he's visiting the Laona School Forest.

"The trees, of course, some of these trees are unbelievable," Kircher said.

The history of the forest itself might be hard to believe for some people. Little Laona has the nation's first school forest, dedicated in 1928. The Town of Laona bought the property and gave it to the school.

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