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Wildfires Create Smoky Smell This Morning

A total of 97 wildfires are currently burning in the state, but so far the Tampa Bay area is only getting a heavy dose of smoke.

If you awoke to smell of smoke this morning, you’re not alone. From Clearwater and Temple Terrace to Land O' Lakes and many points in between, there’s a heavy smell of smoke in the area.

The cause of the smell isn’t a wildfire burning in the Tampa Bay area. Instead, the source is likely a 25,000-acre fire burning near the Florida/Georgia line, said Kristin Bennett, a duty officer with the Florida Forest Service.

“We believe it’s the effect of all the fires north of us (and winds) pushing everything our way,” Bennett said.

There are currently 97 wildfires burning in the state — none of them in the Tampa Bay area.

While the Bay area is in the clear right now, Bennett warns conditions are ripe for that tally of wildfires to go up.

“The fire risk is extreme right now,” she said.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for fires in many Bay area counties, including Pasco and Pinellas, according to its website. The warning remains in effect until 8 p.m. tonight, April 12.

The Pinellas County Division of Air Quality has issued an air pollution advisory until further notice.

The county recommends that the public limit outdoor exposure today, particularly seniors, children and people with cardiovascular disease. 

To find out what conditions are like in neighborhoods throughout the Bay area, we've put this story on all 19 of our local Patch sites. On a scale of 1-10, how strong is the smell of smoke where you are? 1 would mean "I can barely smell anything," and 10 would be "Is that MY house on fire?"

Lynda April 12, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Although it is clear now, I was really surprised to see smoke covering Boca Ciega Bay earlier this am. completely obscuring the south shore. At that point the smell of smoke was between 8 and 9 here on the northern shore of the bay. Thank heavens for air conditioning!
Gen Riley April 12, 2012 at 03:39 PM
took the dogs out this morning and wondered if my house was on fire! Then checked the neighbors! Surprised to hear the fires are so far away!
Linda Hersey April 12, 2012 at 07:11 PM
My cat has asthma today!
Lora Vannoord April 18, 2012 at 05:25 PM
No wonder my allergies were bad.Why wasn't it on the local news?
Lora Vannoord April 18, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Lora Vannoord 1:25 pm on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 No wonder my allergies were bad.Why wasn't it on the local news?
Sunde Farquhar April 19, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Hi Lora, Thanks for reading! Maybe you could now consider Patch your local news source :)

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