7,000-acre controlled burn sends smoke across Tampa Bay

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The chill wasn’t the only thing in the air on Tuesday night.

You may have seen it Tuesday afternoon: Smoke from a massive controlled burn in north Florida blowing its way all the way to the Tampa Bay area.

Local fire departments alerted residents that heavy smoke in the area was the result of a 7,000-acre controlled burn in Levy County.

The smoke raised a false alarm and had some residents wondering – where was the fire?

“It was pretty strong when I came out of home and I live in Seffner,” Neysha Ramos said.

8 On Your Side found out Tampa had the second-worst air quality in America on Tuesday night, according to government monitoring. Air quality levels reached unhealthy points for children, the elderly, and anyone with breathing problems.

“The winds were so breezy today and if they’re a little higher in the upper levels of the atmosphere as well that’s just going to carry everything a little bit quicker,” News Channel 8 Meteorologist Julie Phillips said.

A lot of residents were left to wonder if it’s so cold and windy, why burn when typically this is when residents are told not to burn?

But for Florida Forest Service, in a highly-controlled environment, these are just about the perfect condition and they plan to continue burning tomorrow. The FFS released the following statement:

There are times when windy conditions are preferred to assist in carrying fire through the burn block. The prescribed burn plan for the two areas to be burned on Goethe State Forest this week require the weather conditions that are present today and tomorrow.

Florida Forest Service

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