Smoke in area coming from wildfires in North Carolina

"This is extremely risky work and I especially want to thank the firefighters, first responders, sheriffs and other emergency personnel that have risked their own lives to protect our citizens and property".

Almost two dozen wildfires are under investigation across the region.

ATLANTA (AP) - The search is on for a man in a dark blue SUV last seen where a handful of fires began in Georgia.

The above item has been corrected; Upchurch's first name is Justin, not Jason.

Wildfires near the Georgia-North Carolina line are spewing smoke so thick that an emergency manager is urging residents to wear special masks if they must do outdoor activities. They said Friday that they do not expect the wildfire smoke to impact Saturday's races, which include a marathon, half-marathon, 5K run/walk, marathon relay and a kids 1-mile fun run. They include Mount Mitchell, South Mountain, Chimney Rock, Gorges, New River, Elk Knob, Lake James, and the Mount Jefferson State Natural Area.

State of Emergency in Tenn.

Because of the fires, air quality is now "unhealthy" for all groups in Cherokee, Clay, Macon, and Graham Counties.

The wildfires have been active for more than a week and have covered more than 19,000 acres and continue to spread.

Wildfires in Hamilton, Campbell and Sequatchie counties are threatening homes and property.

The agency says weather forecasts don't show any significant precipitation through the rest of 2016.

A large call was made statewide on Saturday in North Carolina seeking more fire crews to help in the mountains. "It is imperative that we use all of the resources at our disposal to handle this serious and risky situation in western North Carolina". There have been arson arrests in Tennessee and Kentucky, but not in our state.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission announced Thursday night that a wildfire on Pinnacle Mountain at Table Rock State Park in the Pickens County area has grown from 15 to 250 acres in the last 24 hours, according to a release. The fires come as the region is experiencing extreme drought conditions; states of emergency were declared in North Carolina and Tennessee due to the crippling drought conditions.

The largest fire is now the Tellico Fire at just over 8,500 acres, while other large fires are the Boteler Fire at 7,000 acres and the Maple Springs Fire at 6,822 acres.

Already in the South, drought has turned pine trees into matchsticks and forced people to evacuate their homes ahead of fast-moving flames.

Almost all the active large wildfires nationwide Thursday were in the Southeast, according to the U.S.

More than 5,000 firefighters and support staff from around the nation have joined the effort, said Shardul Raval, director of fire and aviation management for the southern region of the U.S. Forest Service.

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