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Tuesday: More sun, more smoke and haze from Collier brush fire

Pedestrians stroll past a hazy skyline as they walk along South Lake in Hollywood. The haze and smoke are from a brush fire that has been burning for more than two weeks in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

South Floridians are waking up Tuesday to the strong smell of smoke and smoggy conditions due to a massive brush fire burning in Collier County.

“It’s terrible,” said Randy Feinman, 44, of Miramar, as he began his job of washing windows shortly before dawn at a Dunkin’ Donuts on Broward Boulevard.

The professional window cleaner suffers from allergies and said because he works outside most of the day, he is concerned about his health. “Usually I only get sick when I get a bad cough, but in conditions like this, well, it really doesn’t help,” he said. “It’s worse today than yesterday, I hope it doesn’t get even worse.”

A lightning strike set off the fire causing the troubling air conditions on April 27 inside of Big Cypress National Preserve. It has consumed more than 35,000 acres, said Mike Johnson, National Parks Service spokesman.

The National Weather Service in Miami has issued an advisory for motorists heading out early Tuesday, warning of reduced visibility along Alligator Alley and the Tamiami Trail because of fog and smoke.

Authorities hope to have the blaze contained within the coming week.

South Florida health officials are advising the public to protect themselves from the smoke lingering in the air.

A health advisory notes that pregnant women, infants, children, elderly people and those with chronic diseases such as asthma are particularly vulnerable.

Smoke from wildfires can cause coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes and a runny nose, according to the Broward County Health Department.

Officials recommend that residents and visitors limit outdoor activities, avoid activities that put extra demands on the lungs and heart and use dust masks or bandanas if they are sensitive to smoke.

The Weather Service is forecasting calm winds for much of South Florida Tuesday, but meteorologists caution that the winds may be strong enough to push some smoke from the brush fire across much of Broward later in the day.

Jeffrey Snipes, 36, who works at a Fort Lauderdale resort, said as along as wildlife and residents are safe, he doesn’t mind the temporary inconvenience.

“I’d rather smell a natural pollutant than a man made one,” he said.

Other than the smell of smoke and likely haze, Tuesday’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies, highs in the low 90s and lows in the low 70s.

Wednesday should be similar.

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