Thick smoke from a ferocious blaze in the Everglades may blanket Broward and Miami-Dade Counties again Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
The weather service said late Monday that the smoke that settled over the area Monday morning is likely to return, possibly restricting visibility to a quarter-mile or less. The smoke will also once again reduce air quality over most of South Florida.
A brush fire that’s torched tens of thousands of acres in western Broward County blanketed South Florida in smoke and fog Monday morning and shut down U.S. 27 from Alligator Alley to Southern Boulevard in Palm Beach County for 14 hours.
“Your visibility can go to zero in an instant,” said Sgt. Mark Wysocky of the Florida Highway Patrol.
The fire, believed to have been started by a lightning strike, has burned at least 19,500 acres as of Monday evening.
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The closure of U.S. 27 lasted until about 8:30 Monday morning. But the smoke lingered over Miami-Dade and Broward Counties for hours. The National Weather Service issued a dense smoke advisory for both counties this morning and visibility remained decreased through much of the day.
It made even walking around troublesome for some South Florida residents.
“It can cause respiratory problems, especially with patients who already have conditions,” Dr. Donny Perez said about the smoke. “Can cause asthma, wheezing, coughing. The best you can do is just stay inside when it’s like that. If you really must go out, the best you can do is cover your mouth and nose with a rag.”
While all roads have reopened, the mammoth brush fire is still eating away at vegetation in the area and depending on the weather, could force road closures and another layer of smoke over the area overnight and into Tuesday.
- Click here for more on the fire from the Florida Forestry Service
Check back with NBC 6 South Florida and NBC6.com for updates.