A wildfire near North Carolina's Lake Lure had burned more than 4,400 acres, was just 19 percent contained, and was increasing in size on Tuesday, November 15, with forecasts of windy and mild weather reportedly causing concern for fire crews.
Some areas in Georgia have not seen rain for over a month.
The fires have been fueled by unseasonably warm and dry weather in the mountain region, something the Forest Service had warned about for weeks up to the time they began.
The largest of the active fires, 13,679-acre Tellico in the Nantahala National Forest of Swain and Macon counties was 68 percent contained Wednesday.
Crews from Western Carteret Fire and EMS Department were joined this week by crews from the Morehead City Fire and EMS Department who left the city Monday morning. He said some progress had been made in containing the fires since Wednesday.
But those conditions aren't expected to last. "It is those days when you have those gusty winds pushing the fire that you are having to react to that wind with a winter-like variable, then you can focus more on getting these fire lines in and very well established".
Unseasonably warm dry weather has deepened a drought that's igniting forest fires across the southeastern US, forcing people to flee homes in the Appalachian Mountains and blanketing Atlanta in a smoky haze.
A community meeting took place Wednesday at the Rumbling Bald Resort where more than 400 area residents attended.
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Firefighters from all over from all over the state and country have been assisting local crews.
"I think it's really hard on them with the smoke", Lunsford said. Public information officers with the N.C. Forest Service spoke to residents and answered any questions they had. A public information officer from the Party Rock Fire will provide an overview of the current fire status, planned fire suppression operations, and anticipated fire behavior with the predicted strong winds later this week.
"On the western side we feel comfortable that the threat has diminished but we know the threat is greater and going to be greater on the north and east so we are shifting our pieces", he said.
All told, there are more than 30 large fires that are still uncontained.
"In general firefighters work 14 or 15 hours a day", Stone said. "We have some people from as far away as Alaska", Shane Yarborough, Florida Forest Service said. Now we have four people and a truck, but others are coming in to relieve them this weekend.
Like others from Wake County, Thornton, Knightdale's Evan Guinn and Eastern Wake Fire Department's Capt. Brian Bunn, Henry Stubblefield and Matt Toler are scheduled to be deployed for seven days.
A lack of adequate rainfall is "a contributing factor in the fire danger", according to Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery.
Only four injuries have been recorded in conjunction with the firefighting effort, and those have been minor, said James Stone, a retired Forest Service employee joining the response from Idaho.