Smoky days may return as Everglades fire keeps burning

A shift in the wind Wednesday night into Thursday morning might once again send smoke from a massive brush fire in West Broward toward populated areas, according to the Florida Forest Service.

Scott Peterich, a spokesman for the forest service, said that while the fire is not spreading as quickly as it did after it began Saturday, the blaze is still going strong. By Wednesday afternoon, 27,300 acres had burned, and the fire remained about 70 percent contained.

“We just have to wait and see,” said Peterich. “So far the rain has skirted around the fire.”

While the weather forecast predicts more thunderstorms on Thursday, Peterich said it is a matter of the rain making its way west of U.S. 27 and north of Interstate 75, where the fire is centered.

Stephen Konarik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami-Dade, said the rain chance is high. He added that the wind could bring a repeat of the acrid haziness that Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties experienced earlier this week. He added that the smoke might affect Broward and Palm Beach counties more than Miami-Dade because the wind looks like it will be coming from the southwest.

“When it comes from the west it pushes the smoke toward the city,” he said. For the past few days, the winds have come from the east.

The fire began Saturday when lightning struck an Everglades conservation area. The fire is contained in a 70,000-acre area, and Peterich said the forest service’s best hope is for rain.

“Unless we get some rain on that fire, its going to continue to burn,” he said.

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