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Smoke from distant fires brings haze to Tampa Bay area

Did you notice the sky was a little hazy — almost foggy — on Tuesday?

That's because smoke from wildfires hundreds of miles away moved into the Tampa Bay area.

One fire about a mile from the Florida-Georgia border made the sky appear milky white over much of the area, and another to the south in the Big Cypress National Preserve may have contributed to a high air pollution reading in Hillsborough, officials said. Both wildfires were ignited by lightning two weeks ago.

The haze made an already hot day feel even more oppressive. It was 92 degrees in St. Petersburg, which tied a record, and 89 in Tampa.

Smoke from the brush fire to the north that claimed 90,000 acres in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge was too high in the upper atmosphere and spread too thin to have affect temperatures, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik.

"It's really not affecting visibility, it's just that we see it as whiter or hazy," Kacmarik said.

She said temperatures will be similar through the week. It won't get much cooler until the weekend.

The haze is expected to be blown out to sea by an easterly cold front sometime today, according to the National Weather Service.

In Hillsborough, the Environmental Protection Commission issued an ozone advisory Tuesday that lasts through tonight.

Smoke from distant fires brings haze to Tampa Bay area 05/10/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:31am]

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