Hillsborough, Pinellas counties under air pollution advisories

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Several counties around the Tampa Bay area are under air pollution advisories because of the smoke from recent wildfires.

Pinellas and Hillsborough County leaders issued alerts Thursday.

Thick smoke could be seen in and around Tampa Bay Thursday morning.

Dozens of people who work and live near Gandy Boulevard in St. Pete complained about the smell.

Bryan Buckenheimer, of JJ’s Market and Deli, was on 4th Street when he noticed it.

“While I was riding to work. I was driving, usually with my windows down ’cause it’s so humid, I just smelled some smoke,” he said.

Like other residents, Buckenheimer thought a fire was nearby.

Smoke from a wild fire in Avon Park Wednesday evening spread throughout the area.

The fire grew to 8,000 acres. Winds shifted the smoke east to west.

“Initially didn’t associate it with the brush fire at all, just being a county over, just thought ‘it can’t be from that,’” said Buckenheimer.

A pulmonologist said the smoke could impact people with respiratory issues.

“If you have the underline tendency to get respiratory infections, obviously that’s not good,” said Dr. Tony Kriseman, with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

Those prone to breathing problems should take precautions.

“If you have a respiratory condition, stay indoors, keep the air conditioning on, make sure you change the filters on the air conditioner frequently,” said Dr. Kriseman.

Both advisories are in effect until further notice.

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