By Maryann Tobin
UPDATED: June 14, 2010
Gulf Oil Spill 2010: Plans to evacuate Tampa Bay area are in place.
As FEMA and other government agencies prepare for what is now being called the worst oil spill disaster in history, plans to evacuate the Tampa Bay area are in place.
The plans would be announed in the event of a controlled burn of surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico, or if wind or other conditions are expected to take toxic fumes through Tampa Bay.
This practice has been used by the US Forestry service, when fire and smoke threaten the health and well being of people.
The elderly and those with respiratory problems would be more susceptible to health risks, in the event of a controlled burn.
Estimates of the rate of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill have varied. Independent scientists now suggest that the true spill rate, before the riser pipe was cut off in June, was between 20,000 and 50,000 barrels a day.
Since the April 20th explosion, which resulted in the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig, there have been more than a million gallons of chemicals poured into the Gulf of Mexico in efforts to break up the spill. The chemicals have come under scrutiny because of their own toxic nature.
It is not certain if the massive slick will have to be set on fire near Tampa Bay, but the possibility has not been ruled out.
BP has been using controlled burnes as a way to contain the oil spill since the crisis began. Plans to do additional controlled burns around the well site were announced by Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen at a briefing in early June.