Giovedi, 19 Aprile, 2018

Georgians evacuate homes as wildfires rage

Atlanta covered in blanket of smoke Party Rock fire crosses county lines, no rain in sight
Irmina Pasquarelli | 14 Novembre, 2016, 00:51

Justin Upchurch, the assistant fire chief in Rabun County, Georgia, said law officers there are searching for a man in a dark blue SUV after multiple fires started Wednesday, many of them beginning as small roadside fires. In North Carolina, arson is suspected in most of the 19 fires burning in the Nantahala National Forest in the far western counties of Western North Carolina, according to the U.S. Forest Service. "He didn't realize how much danger he was putting other people in".

No arrests were announced in most of the rest of the suspicious fires, which have been torching forests in and around the southern Appalachian mountains.

High winds, unseasonably warm temperatures and weeks without rain have combined to spark blaze after blaze in the dry brush and trees.

"Tens of thousands of acres have burned, about a dozen of the largest fires remain uncontained and many people to evacuate their homes ahead of fast-moving flames".

A statement from the N.C. Department of Transportation on Friday said a seven-mile stretch of road between the intersection of N.C. 9 and USA 64/74A, which lead to the lake and Chimney Rock State Park, will be closed to all traffic except emergency personnel until officials deem the area safe for residents and visitors. Georgia Forestry Commission is working with US Forest Service to track the fire's progress, and identify areas that might be at risk so proactive measures can be taken well in advance. Firefighters in Alabama have battled more than 1,100 fires that have charred almost 12,000 acres in the last month.

Falling leaves are posing a challenge in the Georgia fires, as firefighters build containment lines only to have leaves spread fire to those areas as they fall, Burnett said.

"This has been going on for a very long time and I'm very concerned about the resources that are available because of the wide breadth of this fire, not just in North Carolina but throughout the Southeast", McCrory said. They're expected to assume command of firefighting operations today. All seven firefighters were later accounted for and none was injured, said Gary Murrell, director of the Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency. Approximately 40 air crafts are involved that include three air tankers that are flying from Tennessee. Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina all have fierce fires.

Wildfires near the Georgia-North Carolina line are spewing smoke so thick that residents are urged to wear special masks outdoors and prompted evacuations in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee in recent days.

Alabama extended its ban throughout the state, where drought is choking 80 percent of the land, drying up streams and lakes and turning plants to tinder.

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