Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Florida fires to blame for smoky haze reported across Tampa Bay

Smoke and haze from wildfires in north Florida have permeated much of the Tampa Bay area, provoking scores of calls to authorities throughout the region.

Not to fear. The fires are very far away.

The smoky conditions are a good reminder that the state is approaching the busiest time of the year for wildfires, and that conditions are ripe for an extremely active season.

More than a dozen fires burning in north Florida, including a 25,000-acre fire at the Georgia-Florida border, are mixing in the atmosphere and being blown into our area by northerly winds.

"It has nothing to do with our district," said Kristin Bennett, a duty officer Florida Forest Service. The winds are "pushing it our way."

That hasn't kept residents from calling and police scanners from buzzing with calls about the hazy conditions.

The haze and acrid smell are expected to ease Thursday afternoon when sea breezes mix with the northerly flow, according to the National Weather Service.

Tampa Bay is in the midst of an extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Rainfall so far this year has been below average while the region has seen record-setting temperatures.

Conditions, including low humidity and winds in the 10 to 15 mph range, are favorable across most of Tampa Bay for the spread of wildfires, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency issued a red flag warning from noon Thursday until 8 p.m. for Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties, among others in the area.

North Florida fires to blame for smoky haze reported across Tampa Bay 04/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 12, 2012 11:53am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.
  2. Police pull unconscious New Port Richey man from SUV in Cotee River


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Police rescued an unconscious driver whose sport utility vehicle plunged into the Cotee River on Saturday.

  3. Analysis: Bannon is out, but his agenda may live on


    WASHINGTON — In his West Wing office, Stephen Bannon kept a chart listing trade actions — on China, steel and autos — that the Trump White House planned to roll out, week by week, through the fall. Now that Bannon, the president's chief strategist, has been pushed out, the question is whether his …

    Steve Bannon thinks he could be more effective influencing policy from outside the White House.
  4. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program


    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  5. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times