November 22, 2016, Tate City: California fire crew squad boss Layne Whitney commuicates with his crew while they work to hold the northern head of the Rock Mountain Fire on the Appalachian Trail at Deep Gap on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, north of Tate City and the North Carolina border. The area is deep in the Natahala National Forest. Curtis Compton/

Humidity may slow fire in northwest Georgia but northeast still raging

Firefighters in northwest Georgia have made significant progress in containing the fire burning through the Cohutta Wilderness Area, and high humidity there is expected to bring some relief, but lower humidity in the northeastern part of the state will bring little aide in the battle against the Rock Mountain fire.

The Rough Ridge fire in the Cohutta’s has consumed 27,870 acres but 197 firefighters have it 75 percent contained, the US. Forest Service said Friday. But the agency said the smaller Rock Mountain blaze in the Chattooga River District, with more than 18,000 acres burned, is only 35 percent contained, with 567 personnel engaged in that battle.

The balmy 61 degree weather and relative humidity of 40 percent won’t help much there, but the Cohuttas were expecting humidity of 80 percent to 100 percent most of the day. “This should provide favorable conditions for firefighters to extinguish persistent burning logs and stumps,” the Forest Service said, noting that rising temperatures and humidity Saturday “could result in an increase of fire behavior” in the Cohuttas.

A total fire ban is in place in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, which encompasses both blazes. Campfires, fire pits and even charcoal based grills are prohibited, though camping stoves can be used. The buck and bear hunting season will occur as planned next week in the Cohuttas, despite the many road closures there.

Update: Cohutta hunting area and road closures and links to government resources

In Rock Mountain, meanwhile, officials were planning pre-evacuations in some parts of Rabun County. The Appalachian Trail, from Georgia’s Dicks Creek Gap to Rock Gap in North Carolina, was closed, as were areas of the Nantahala wilderness area and some roads, including Tallulah River Road, which goes to a popular waterfall by the same name.

Update: pre-evacuation areas and road closures in the Chattooga River District and links to government resources

More: Rain helps, hurts firefighting

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