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Wildfires Cause Smoky Smell Today

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.

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 wold be "Is that MY house on fire?"

Susan April 12, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I am in the Brandon Area; and I would rate it at least a 6. I 've experienced some alergy symtoms such as extreme burning eyes, slight congestion and some trouble breathing. Suggestion, stay inside!
Jason Bartolone April 12, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I'd say it's a 3 or 4 all the way down here in Sarasota.
Jason Bartolone April 12, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Patch reader Arleen Comiskey Batronie said on Facebook, "Yes it's terrible in Brandon - whole house smells like smoke now."
Sherri Lonon April 12, 2012 at 04:18 PM
So sorry to hear that Susan! Anyone else having trouble today because of the smoke?
Carol May 25, 2012 at 03:34 AM
It's still pretty strong around the Valrico area tonight I'd rate it about an 8...stinky!

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