The Latest: Troops to help as wildfires spread in Smokies - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Troops to help as wildfires spread in Smokies

(Source: Raycome Media) (Source: Raycome Media)

ATLANTA (AP) - The Latest on wildfires burning across the south (all times local):

8:05 a.m.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says National Guard troops are being sent in to help out as wildfires continue to spread in Gatlinburg and surrounding areas in the Smoky Mountains National Park.

TEMA spokesman Dean Flener says the troops will transport first responders, perform welfare checks and remove debris.

Emergency officials in Tennessee ordered evacuations due to the blaze in downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and in other areas of Sevier County. Officials say the wildfire has set 30 structures ablaze in Gatlinburg, including a 16-story hotel. TEMA says no deaths have been reported, though one person was burned while evacuating.

Officials say there are about 1,200 people sheltering at the Gatlinburg Community Center and the Rocky Top Sports Park.

Meanwhile, officials say about 12,000 people are without power and three school systems had canceled classes Tuesday.

4 a.m.

As storms approach some of the largest wildfires burning in the South, the rain signaled new hope for firefighters working to put them out.

But authorities said the storms were also bringing high winds, which could topple the many dead trees and branches in burning forests and pose a threat to firefighters. And experts predicted rains from one storm system wouldn't be enough to end the relentless drought that's spread across several states.

The storms appeared to be taking aim at the two largest wildfires in the South - the nearly 28,000-acre Rough Ridge Fire in north Georgia and the nearly 25,000-acre Rock Mountain Fire burning on both sides of the Georgia-North Carolina line.

Authorities said 22 other large wildfires were burning throughout the Southeast U.S.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly