Many outdoor activities banned as fires burn across South

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Starting campfires, lighting fireworks and smoking cigarettes are among the outdoor activities being banned across the South as fires burn in forests stressed by drought.

Even parking a car off-road is prohibited for fear that a hot tailpipe could ignite dry leaves below.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Adam Rondeau has said the agency is tracking wildfires that have burned a total of 80,000 acres across the South. That includes a north Georgia fire that’s burned an area the size of Manhattan.

The Tennessee Valley Authority issued a burn ban Tuesday on its public lands across Tennessee and in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. The authority said its ban applies to anything that might produce an open flame.

(Source: Tennessee Department of Agriculture)
(Source: Tennessee Department of Agriculture)

Relentless smoke spreads fear at edge of southern wildfires

TIGER, Ga. (AP) – Thick smoke has settled over a wide area of the southeastern U.S., where wildfires are burning through decades of leaf litter, and people are breathing in tiny bits of the southern Appalachian forests with every gulp of air.

It’s a constant reminder of the dozens of wildfires threatening small mountain communities in Rabun County, Georgia where people feel like they’re under siege.

Tim Free, a lifelong resident, breaks down with emotion as he describes how elderly neighbors are struggling with relentless smoke so thick it blocks the sun.

Scott Cates, the pastor of Liberty Baptist church, says many fear the fires will consume their homes.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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