Smoke Covers Parts of Ocala National Forest
There's smoke on the water and everywhere else around much of the Ocala National Forest.
It was so bad this morning that some residents couldn't see their own front yard.
Heavy smoke near the Halfmoon Prairie fire is causing visibility problems.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers have had to monitor State Road 40 all day long.
The smoke is so thick that FHP and The Department of Transportation are installing remote controlled warning signs on Levy Hammock Road and parts of State Road 40, just in case they are needed over the next couple of days.
"I couldn't see anything from my door," said Marilyn Gruesbeck.
On Tuesday Gruesbeck snapped photos of the heavy smoke that covered parts of the Ocala National Forest.
"It's never been this bad. I came outside this morning to open up the gate for my husband to leave for work a 6 a.m. and I had my mouth covered. The smoke was just so bad it was awful," said Gruesbeck.
The smoke is coming from the Halfmoon Prairie Wildfire plus the 60 acre backburn, which was conducted on Monday as a way to protect homes from the wildfire.
Gruesbeck said her husband could barely see anything when driving to work.
"He left this morning and he couldn't see the driveway. He almost hit two mailboxes just trying to get out of here this morning," said Gruesbeck.
Less than half mile away at Lake Bryant Mobile Home and RV Park, Angela Rivers describes what she saw when she opened her door on Tuesday morning.
"I didn't see much of anything. It was completely cloudy, smoky, coughed immediately," said Rivers.
Rivers drove her son to the bus stop in the morning, but almost missed a turn because the smoke was so thick.
"You can't see five feet in front of you if your driving down this road in the mornings with all the smoke and everything," said Rivers.
Rivers son was riding on a bus that pulled over on Levy Hammock Road because the driver instantly ran into wall of smoke.
Marion County Sheriff's deputies escorted the bus and ended up closing the road.
Two hours later the smoke and haze cleared up, making it much easier for drivers to see the roadway.
Rivers said she can already predict when the heavy smoke will cover up the area once again.
"First thing in the morning until the sun comes up. Right now it's really clear and you can't even really smell it, but I guarantee by tonight and tomorrow morning again it will be bad," said Rivers.
Ludie Bond with the Division of Forestry said they predict the same weather conditions for tomorrow morning.
Currently the Halfmoon Prairie Fire has burned about 400 acres and is 50 percent contained.
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