SARASOTA, Fla. -

Officials say red tide is responsible for thousands of dead fish that have washed up along the beaches in Sarasota and Charlotte counties.
    
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports the dead fish started washing ashore on Monday. Crews spent Thursday afternoon cleaning the beaches along Blind Pass, Manasota and Englewood Beach.
    
Sarasota park and recreation director George Tatge calls the red tide outbreak "significant."
    
He says most of the dead fish are large mullet. Tatge suspects a large school of mullet likely got caught up in a red tide bloom and washed ashore thanks to strong wind from the west.
    
Officials say the beaches are safe. But people with asthma or chronic respiratory issued should be wary of the red tide conditions.
    
Red tide can also be dangerous to dogs.