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Winds may blow smoke from wildfires away from area by Friday
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Firefighters Valarie Lopez, left, and Mark Tabaez work to cool hot spots Tuesday after a wildfire burned a hillside in Clayton. More than 5,000 firefighters and support personnel, including many veterans of wildfires in the arid West, and 24 helicopters are reinforcing local crews in the fire zone, which has spread from northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee into eastern Kentucky, the western Carolinas and parts of surrounding states. - photo by John Bazemore

How to help

The Times will have its van sitting in front of the newspaper office at 345 Green St. in Gainesville from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday collecting supplies for Georgia Forestry Commission firefighters battling the wildfires. Anyone who wants to can bring items and “pack the van.” The Times will deliver the supplies to the Forestry Commission office. A forestry commission representative said the following items are needed:

• Bottled Gatorade

• Bottled water

• Hand sanitizer

• Ibuprofen

• Tylenol

• Prepackaged, single-serve, nonperishable, cookless meals or snacks

Some areas of North Georgia may get a break from the smoke pouring from mountain wildfires, though residents closer to the fires will continue to feel the effects.

Winds are expected to shift from the south overnight into Friday, blowing the smoke away from Hall County and metro Atlanta in coming days. A cold front will move in as well, lowering temperatures near freezing in some areas by Saturday. But no rain is in sight to ease the drought.

The line for denser smoke extends north of a line from Rome to Homer, according to the National Weather Service and Environmental Protection Division. Children and others with respiratory problems should limit outdoor exposure in these areas.

The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests offered this update on the region’s fires:

• Rock Mountain Fire: Rabun and Towns counties, 7,999 acres, 20 percent contained, Tallulah River Road, Straw Mountain Area. Southern Nantahala Wilderness remains closed east of the Appalachian Trail.

• Rock Crusher Fire: Rabun County, 4 acres, 100 percent contained, Warwoman Road and Old Rock Crusher Road, Clayton

• Timber Ridge Fire: Rabun County, 888 acres, 20 percent contained, Southeast of Clayton

• Burrell and Burrells 42 Fires: Rabun County, 185 acres combined, 100 percent contained

• Raven Fire: Union County, 20-plus acres, 100 percent contained, Raven Cliffs Wilderness

• Rough Ridge Fire: Murray and Fannin counties, 23,759 acres, 30 percent contained, Cohutta Wilderness

• Coopers Fire: Union County, 8 acres, 95 percent contained, northeast of Suches

• Campbell Mountain Fire: Union County, 22 acres, 100 percent contained

• Chimney Top Fire: Union County, 3 acres, 100 percent contained, 1.5 miles west of Brasstown Bald Visitor Center in the Brasstown Wilderness