Wildfires causing periodic highway closures
The wildfires in Georgia and Florida that have blanketed much of Florida in smoke during the last week are causing an increasing number of highway closures that are disrupting overland freight movements on key highways.
The smoke has not totally shut down any highways for long periods of time, but when the conditions are worst, the Florida Highway Patrol has temporarily closed highways for safety purposes.
Over the weekend, portions of both Interstates 10 and 75 were temporarily closed to traffic. I-10 was closed from U.S. 90 in Sanderson to U.S. 129 in Live Oak. A northern section of I-75 was closed from Lake City to just below the Georgia border.
Earlier last week the 'Alligator Alley' section of I-75 that connects the metropolitan areas of South Florida with Tampa the other West Coast cities was periodically closed, as well.
The dangers are especially acute during the mornings, when normal fog combines with the wildfire smoke.
Officials from the State Patrol and the Florida Department of Transportation say the closures will continue on and off until the smoke conditions improve.