Aircraft testing search and rescue operations in southwest Wisconsin

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BARABOO, Wis. (WMTV) -- Skies above southwestern Wisconsin will be busy with planes, helicopters and non-military unmanned aerial systems as emergency responders and the National Guard test their plans in a search and rescue exercise to be held Thursday.

The public should not be concerned if they notice an increased emergency responder presence, aircraft, military personnel, vehicles and equipment, or non-military unmanned aerial vehicles operating in these areas during the exercises, according to the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs.

A Wisconsin Army National Guard helicopter will lift a training manikin from the bluffs of Devil’s Lake State Park as part of the exercise.

Various local, state and federal agencies will be participating in the search and rescue exercise in Dyracuse Recreational Park in Adams County, Sauk Prairie Recreational Area — the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant — and Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo.

The exercise is jointly coordinated by the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Wisconsin Emergency Management, Wisconsin Department of Administration, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and local agencies.

The goal of the exercise is to increase and practice the coordination, policies, and procedures to request and use air assets for search and rescue.

Participating in the exercise are the Wisconsin Drone Network, Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin DNR, Trail Ambassadors, Civil Air Patrol and local agencies.