Smoke from Georgia, Florida Fires Reaches N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Smoke from massive wildfires in Georgia and Florida has drifted hundreds of miles into central North Carolina, triggering emergency calls to fire departments across the region.

Charlotte fire Captain Rob Brisley urged residents today NOT to call nine-one-one just to report smoke, and to use the emergency phone line only if they actually see smoke or flames coming from a structure.

About 50 miles northeast of Charlotte, emergency dispatchers in Davidson County said they have been "overwhelmed" by callers reporting the smoke.

The smoke's being driven into North Carolina by strong winds that are preceding a cold front. Expected showers and thunderstorms should dissipate the smoke by tonight.

Georgia and Florida firefighters have been battling hundreds of wildfires over the past few weeks. The one near the Georgia-Florida border was the most threatening, charring 390 square miles across the two states and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate homes.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)