Tennessee

Storms take aim at large wildfires in South

  • Fire erupts on both side of Highway 441 between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. In Gatlinburg, smoke and fire caused the mandatory evacuation of downtown and surrounding areas, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. (Jessica Tezak/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

    Fire erupts on both side of Highway 441 between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. In Gatlinburg, smoke and fire caused the mandatory evacuation of downtown and surrounding areas, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. (Jessica Tezak/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thick smoke from area forest fires looms in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Gatlinburg officials say several areas are being evacuated as a result of fires in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

    Thick smoke from area forest fires looms in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Gatlinburg officials say several areas are being evacuated as a result of fires in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thick smoke from area forest fires looms in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Gatlinburg officials say several areas are being evacuated as a result of fires in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)

    Thick smoke from area forest fires looms in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. Gatlinburg officials say several areas are being evacuated as a result of fires in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)  (The Associated Press)

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.