RHINELANDER - Natural disasters don't happen often in the Northwoods.
But Oneida County Emergency Management needs to make sure their fire departments know what to do if it does.
Oneida County Airport wasn't just for planes this weekend.
Fire departments and more than 40 firefighters trained for a natural disaster Saturday morning.
They practice every other month, but nothing like this.
"This is the first time we actually incorporated MABAS, our Mutual Aid Box Alarm System into a water shuttle drill." said Oneida County Emergency Management director, Ken Kortenhof.
MABAS is a system that Wisconsin adopted in 2006.
"Basically what that does, we pre-plan them ahead of time and they don’t have to worry about deciding at the time which units to call and where they’re coming from," Kortenhof said.
"It’s a good system and it works well with the fire service."
Five different stations set up on the airports runway.
First stop was checking in.
The second station was incident command post.
"Right now they’re directing the different tanker trucks and different tender trucks where to go and how to shuttle water." said Kortenhof.
After that it’s off to the lake to fill the tankers.
Each truck can hold about one thousand gallons of water.
Then they have to find a place to put the extra water.
"When we’re at a fire or something, we have what’s called drop tanks. The tenders come in and they fill those drop tanks up and then those drop tanks feed the engines. The engines spray on to the fire." Kortenhof said.
Firefighters say the training helps departments communicate better.
"We have a number of different departments that specifically don’t work together," Kortenhof said.
"The MABAS system and exercises like this give them the ability to work together and to practice what they’re doing. So in the event they have to in real life, it goes a lot smoother."
A smoother response could save lives during a disaster.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Do bugs seem to be everywhere in your home, even though there's snow outside? One type of bug in Wisconsin spends the winter inside our houses! They look like Lady Bugs, but they are actually not native to this country.
"They're actually called a multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle. They can be anywhere from a pale yellow to a darker orange and they have black spots on them but you'll see some that don't have spots," says Kerri Ison, UW Oneida County Extension.
RHINELANDER - Our record breaking snow storm left more than 6,000 people across the Northwoods without power.
WPS had to rely on 20 extra crews from Green Bay, Wausau and Menominee to get the job done.
But getting to the outages was a challenge.
A representative for WPS says workers are expected even more outages to be reported.
"Not all of the back roads are plowed yet and that's where a lot of outages are located," said Leah Van Zile, WPS Community Relations leader. "Throughout the day as the temperatures warm, we expect to receive additional calls due to the unloading of snow off of the tree branches."
Eagle River had one of the highest number of customers affected by the outages.
Representatives for WPS say this was one of the hardest winters they've had to deal with.
"We've had some really really severe wind chills which has really made the temperatures below zero. Typically, only in emergencies do we work in those conditions," said Van Zile. "But pretty much any other time, whether it's a rain storm, a snow storm, a wind storm, our guys are out there working, getting that power back on."
The number of outages dropped below 4,000 since earlier today.
If you're still without power to call 1800-450-7240.
MINOCQUA - The Minocqua police department could have a new police chief in early May. David Jeager has been the acting chief of police since October.
He will undergo a background check, drug screening, and psychological exam before he is named the current chief of police. He would be replacing former Police Chief Andy Gee. Jeager is excited about what the future may bring.
"I'm extremely excited," says Minocqua acting Police Chief David Jeager. "I believe that this department has great potential and we have a great group of people working for this department,” says Jeager.
“We have great officers, we have great dispatchers, we have great administration.I feel that we can really provide a service to this community that's second to none,” says Jeager.
Jeager has worked in law enforcement for more than 20 years. He's worked at the Minocqua Police Department for 6 years.
MERRILL - A Lincoln County jury found a Merrill–area man guilty of three charges in court Wednesday in connection to the disappearance and murder of his wife.
The jury deliberated for more than 7 ½ hours over a two day period. That was also after six days of testimony and evidence from both the prosecution and defense.
50-year-old Mark Bucki will get a mandatory life sentence for his first-degree intentional homicide conviction.
His wife Anita went missing after going to the couple’s house on the evening of April 25, 2013. Bucki claimed the two had an emotional conversation about the coming divorce between the two of them.
According to testimony, Anita wanted to get back together with Bucki, but Mark was seeing another woman and wanted to move on. He said he went to bed around midnight that evening. He said she was gone just before she woke up at five the next morning.
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