Can Florida breathe easy? Here's which way smoke from Texas wildfires is blowing

Wildfires spreading quickly due to strong winds are racing across the Texas panhandle, including the second-largest wildfire in Texas history.

The Texas fires bring memories of hazy skies and the smell of smoke from Canadian wildfires that reached all the way to Florida in 2023.

So will smoke from the Texas wildfires reach Florida?

Here's what we know so far.

Texans seeing second-largest wildfire in state's history

The second-largest wildfire in Texas history raged across the state's panhandle along with several other major blazes Feb. 28, prompting evacuations, school closures and a temporary shut down of the nation's primary nuclear weapons facility.

The fires began Feb. 26 and spread quickly due to strong winds, dry conditions and unseasonably high temperatures. The largest blaze, Smokehouse Creek Fire, stretched across 500,000 acres — about 800 square miles — through several counties and into neighboring Oklahoma.

Live updates from Texas: Texas wildfire becomes 2nd largest in state history, grows to 500,000 acres

Smoke in Florida today. Is it coming from Texas wildfires?

Wind patterns across Central Florida, at least for the foreseeable future, "aren't conducive" for any of the smoke from the Texas wildfires reaching Florida, according to Jessie Smith, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, Melbourne.

Most of the smoke from the Texas fires will be moving west into New Mexico or Mexico over the next few days.

Wind out of the south or southwest today, and later turning to the northeast, won't bring the smoke here, Smith said.

Late Friday, winds are expected to turn more westerly, so "it doesn't look like something we'll see here," Smith said.

Jack Cullen, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Mobile agreed.

"There's a front moving through today to help clear things out and change wind direction. I don't think smoke will be that much of an issue this far east" for the foreseeable future, Cullen said.

What is the smoke you smell in Florida today?

Active burn authorizations in Florida Feb. 28, 2024.
Active burn authorizations in Florida Feb. 28, 2024.

"There are a lot of prescribed burns going on right now," Smith said. "This typically is the time of year they do those."

The Brevard County Emergency Operations Center announced shortly after noon a 100-acre prescribed burn was taking place south of U.S. 192 at the Brevard, Osceola county line.

Map: Here's the latest burn authorizations in Florida.

Active Florida wildfires

Active wildfires across Florida Feb. 28, 2024.
Active wildfires across Florida Feb. 28, 2024.

According to the Florida Forest Service, as of Wednesday afternoon, there were 38 fires burning 1,128 acres across Florida. The largest is the 650-acre Mills Road fire in Polk County.

Any smoke Florida residents may be smelling is probably from a prescribed burn or wildfire, Cullen said, adding there are several wildfires across the Southeast.

Map: See current Florida wildfires

Smoke from Canadian wildfires reached Florida in 2023

Smoke from wildfires in Quebec, Canada, south of the Hudson Bay, blanketed Florida in October 2023, causing dangerous and unhealthy air quality conditions across the state, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

Contributors: Dinah Voyles Pulver, Trevor Hughes, Christopher Cann, USA Today.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Smoke in Florida today not coming from wildfires in Texas. Here's why