The Southeast has been plagued by wildfires over the past several months. More than 100,000 acres were burned by the end of November, and more than 5,000 firefighters from across the country have traveled to the Southeast to help. Some of those firefighters came from Connecticut.
Several three-man crews have gown down south for two-week increments, working 14 to 16 hour days.
"They're doing a lot of initial attacks on smaller fires," Christopher Martin, the director of forestry for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said.
The region is seeing its worst drought since 2007-2008. However, it's suspected that some of the fires were arsons.
"There's people that get a thrill out of setting the woods on fire and seeing people react," Martin said.
Besides the dry conditions, another issue has been winds. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, saw wind speeds above 80 mph this week, leading to half the town burning. Thousands have been evacuated, and at least seven people had died as of Wednesday. Dozens more had been injured.
Fires are burning not only in Tennessee, but also in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky.
Martin adds that the experience has been educational for Connecticut firefighters because it's a different type of terrain down there. And that experience is vital.
"It could happen here, so we need to be vigilant," Martin said.