A brush fire in the Big Cypress National Preserve has caused another day of smokey and hazy conditions across Miami-Dade and Broward County.
By Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service issued an air quality advisory and warned drivers of reduced visibility due to the combination of patchy fog and smoke from the continuing brush fire.
The day before, residents across South Florida woke to the strong smell of smoke wafting across South Florida from Collier County.
Winds from the Gulf of Mexico pushed the smoke across Eastern South Florida, creating smog-like conditions as far east as Downtown Miami. Though the smoke dissipated with a wind shift later in the morning, forecasters anticipate more smoke could cover Miami-Dade and Broward County over the next couple of days.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol and Division of Forestry, the brush fire has been burning for two weeks now. The fire started on April 26, and officials believe lightning ignited the blaze.
The fire is about 60 percent contained, and experts said, about 28,000 acres have burned so far. Authorities believe the fire will burn even more acreage, as they anticipate the fire to continue burning for the next week.
The Broward County Health Department has issued an air quality advisory in South Florida. That advisory states people may experience coughing, scratchy throat, headaches, chest pains and irritated sinuses, among other symptoms due to the smoke.
Officials said people with respiratory problems, pregnant women, infants, the elderly and children are at greatest risk. Officials suggest residents stay indoors and limit outdoor activities.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesperson Mike Jachles elaborated and the suggestions. “When we have these smoke conditions, it’s important that people with respiratory ailments, the elderly, the young, pregnant women stay inside, stay where it’s air conditioned where you’re going to get the fresh air because it’s not good to be outside and also you want to limit your activity,” he said. “You don’t want to conduct any activity that puts a strain on your heart and lungs, your respiratory, your circulatory, system.”