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Fog mistaken for smoke on billboards leads to 911 calls

Brown County sheriff's officials say fog which accompanies the billboard seen in this photo has been mistaken for smoke, leading to 911 calls. (WLUK/Ben Krumholz)

BROWN COUNTY (WLUK) -- No need to worry if you see something out of the ordinary coming out of one of Associated Bank’s billboards of Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb.

The billboard isn’t on fire. It’s just fog coming out of the sign.

Dozens of false alarm 911 calls flooded Brown County's dispatch center starting last weekend.

“These billboards are designed to startup every Friday afternoon and then go through the Packer home game and away games,” said Captain Dan Sandberg of the Brown County Sheriff’s Department. “Last weekend when the machine went off, we started getting dozens of false 911 calls, because it appears that these billboards makes it look like they're on fire.”

A video from Lamar Advertising shows the fog machines it has setup inside the billboard. Like the Packers, the machines are off this weekend.

The Nelson sign can be seen heading west on Highway 172 just before the GV exit. A Cobb sign can be seen on Highway 29, heading east near the Brown/Shawano County line.

The thing about the calls is emergency crews have to respond if the caller only gives a general area for a fire, which sheriff's officials say has been happening with the billboard calls.

“They're well within their means with the local ordinances and what local laws allow on these billboards,” said Sandberg. “It's probably something with technology advances that it’s probably something you'll see more in the future now that they have a system that works that way.”

Jennifer Kaminski of Associated Bank sent us an email regarding the billboards. She writes, "We understand there have been some concerns about the fog special effects used in our new Green Bay Packer billboards. These were designed to bring the excitement of game day to life by re-creating the moment when players emerge onto the field and have been placed along high-traffic fan corridors leading to Lambeau Field. The fog special effects will be activated on home game weekends to create a fun and celebratory fan experience and to support the team."

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