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?"