Saturday, May 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Interstate 4 now reopen after wildfire smoke snarls traffic

Smoke from a five-acre wildfire closed a section of Orlando's main highway in the city's tourist district and snarled traffic for several hours Friday afternoon. The roadway reopened shortly after 5 p.m.

A section of eastbound Interstate 4 was closed because of billowing smoke that cut down visibility on Orlando's main artery.

The closure was from U.S. 192 to State Road 535.

The fire was nearby Walt Disney World and the busy hotel-and-attractions district on International Drive.

No injuries were reported.

Drivers were forced to take Exit 64 at U.S. 192 if they were headed east.

The smell of the burning wildfire first wafted across the bay area Friday morning.

Winds from the east and northeast Friday morning were probably to blame for bringing smoke from fires reported in eastern Polk County to the Tampa Bay area, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez. Several residents called Pinellas Park Fire Rescue to report smelling smoke.

The largest fire, totaling 980 acres, was reported in northeast Polk County three days ago and is likely causing most of the smoke in the air, said Florida Forest Service duty officer supervisor Lisa Frank. The fire, caused by lightning, was contained Thursday.

Smoke has also been reported in Orlando, Tampa and most of Polk County, Frank said.

Comments
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