Smoke continued to hover over parts of the greater Chattanooga area Sunday as a nearly monthlong battle against drought-induced fires in the region continued with no signs of stopping.
WRCB-TV meteorologist Nick Austin said there is a slight chance of rain Wednesday but that it likely would not be enough rain to extinguish lingering fires like those that continued burning on Signal, Mowbray and Lookout mountains this weekend.
"If we do get anything, it'll kind of be the last time a little bit of rain came through, when it turned out to just be sprinkles and that was it," Austin said.
A fire in the Flipper Bend area of Signal Mountain, between Falling Water and Soddy-Daisy, grew to 65 acres by Sunday afternoon as state parks and forestry personnel worked to contain it.
The Air National Guard made water drops on the fire from a helicopter, and a plane from the U.S. Forest Service was expected to drop fire retardant over a portion of the fire by dusk, according to Hamilton County Emergency Services spokeswoman Amy Maxwell.
Maxwell said in an afternoon news release that no homes were threatened by the fire, which is expected to burn for several days under the watch of state forestry personnel.
A fire on Lookout Mountain in Dade County, Ga., also contributed to the overall smokiness of the area. Crews from the Georgia Forestry Commission and West Brow Volunteer Fire Department continued working to contain that blaze into Sunday evening, according to a Dade County dispatcher.
"Even if we had some days with higher afternoon humidity, that would help out," Austin said. "The one thing that would help out the most would be a good dousing of rain. If it only happens in spots, it's not going to get rid of all the wildfires."
Just 0.08 inches of rain were registered at the Chattanooga Airport during October, Austin said. That's the lowest amount of rain for a Chattanooga October since 1938, when there was also 0.08 inches, he said.
This January-October was the driest on record in Chattanooga.
Contact staff writer David Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6249.