And in North Carolina, authorities suspect arson in more than 20 wildfires burning in a national forest.
The federal government has approved a request for money to fight the blazes in western North Carolina, Gov.
The fire threat that officials have been warning about for weeks has become real for thousands of residents in several southern states including Tennessee and Kentucky.
Over 60 percent of the state's water systems are experiencing moderate to exceptional drought conditions, with three counties reporting that their wells are running completely dry.
A state of emergency is now in effect for 25 counties in Western North Carolina, including Watauga and Avery, due to dry conditions and increased fire danger. The Party Rock Fire has burned about 1,000 acres.
Locally, the state of emergency includes the High Country counties Avery, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey counties, as well as Caldwell County.
Her friend Andre Whilden, who lives behind Chimney Rock village, said she and her husband hardly got any notice.
The smoke is expected to to clear for the weekend but could return next week if the fires continue, Berry said.
Dai Harris, 29, was staying in a local firehouse after being evacuated from his home near Mowbray Mountain.
In Macon County, North Carolina, special health masks were being made available Saturday.
"This declaration will help facilitate evacuations as needed and provide further state assets to help combat the wildfires and support North Carolinians displaced by the fires", McCrory said as he issued the declaration Thursday. The two largest are the Tellico fire, which has burned about 10 square miles and the Maple Springs fire, which has burned almost 8 square miles.
The area is less than 50 miles from North Carolina's Nantahala National Forest, where more than 20 wildfires that have burned more than 17,000 acres are all "being investigated for suspected arson", forestry officials announced in a status update. SC forestry officials say the fire had burned less than an acre Wednesday evening.
In South Carolina, the Easley Fire Department is asking residents to donate water, Gatorade and other drinks to help firefighters battling a wildfire on Pinnacle Mountain.
The N.C. Forest Service has issued a burning ban on all open burning and cancelled burning permits in 25 counties in the western part of the state.
He says the wildfires already burned up to 6,200 acres in Bledsoe, Hamilton, Monroe and Sequatchie counties in the past month, and 53 fires are now burning over almost 9,680 acres in Tennessee.