MIAMI (CBS4) – Much of South Florida woke to another smoky, hazy morning thanks to a wildfire burning in the Big Cypress National Preserved in Collier County.
Nearly 350 firefighters from across the state, and the country, are battling the massive fire which has already torched nearly 36 thousand acres.
“It was worse this morning, I came down Krome, it was pretty bad,” said Kevin Hosein.
The smoky conditions not only affected visibility, it also affected air quality.
“When you breath in you kind of feel it,” said Randy Hoy.
Tuesday morning Miami-Dade and Broward Counties have issued advisories for people who suffer from respiratory problems, or chronic heart and lung diseases, to stay inside if possible until the smoky conditions dissipate.
Jeanny Dorelus said despite the smoky conditions, he still had to go to his job at a car wash in Lauderhill.
“I still have to work because I still have to survive, I still have to work,” said Dorelus.
“It was just like and orange haze because everything was blowing west to east,” said trucker Jeff Clock who drove through it.
Clock, who drives 18-wheelers for a living, said he’s faced just about every element you can think of and based on what he saw coming into South Florida Tuesday morning the conditions were not to be taken lightly.
“Just use your common sense, don’t be high balling through because it’s just like a thick fog,” said Clock.
“I felt like I was going to pass out. I barely could breathe,” said Shazaad Rashied, who had to leave work early and rush to the clinic.
“You just feel tightness in your chest. You’re grasping for air. You’re trying to breathe and you can’t breathe,” said Rashied.
Dr. Zevy Landman, an allergy and asthma specialist in Pembroke Pines, says he treated about ten people between yesterday and today for smoke-related problems.
“Very small particles get in the airway and causes the attack, and it’s an acute attack and then you start weezing, coughing, having shortness of breathe, then you have to go see the doctor or the ER,” said Dr. Landman.
Mike Johnson, with the Big Cypress National Preserve, said on Monday firefighters were successfully able to keep it from spreading to the south by burning any dry brush in its path thus choking off a fuel source. On Tuesday, Johnson said they would concentrate their efforts on the fire’s northwestern boundary. Crews will are also expected to hold and improve burned out containment lines on the northeast, east, and west flanks of the fire.
The fire was sparked on April 26th by a lightning strike. As of Tuesday, the fire was 60 percent contained. The park service does not expect to have the fire fully contained until May 18th.