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More than half of counties in Florida still fighting fires

SHARE More than half of counties in Florida still fighting fires

While some areas of Florida spent Saturday cleaning up from wildfires, more than half of the state's counties continued to fight scattered blazes in record-breaking heat.

No highly populated areas were threatened, though state officials issued health alerts in smoky areas and elderly and ill people were encouraged to stay indoors."It would take a tropical system to dump a lot of water on the state to make a difference," said Barbara Doran of the Florida Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

Fires were burning in 38 of the state's 67 counties, a continuation of fires that have ravaged Florida since Memorial Day. More than 67,000 acres have burned and 114 homes and businesses damaged. One person was killed.

President Clinton declared all of Florida a fire disaster area on Friday, giving emergency relief to exhausted fire fighters.

The fire-fighting was made harder by severe drought and record-breaking temperatures, including 101 degrees in Jacksonville on Friday.

But in Waldo, just northeast of Gainsville, evacuees returned home as rainstorms weakened wild-fires that still smoldered Saturday about a mile away.

Drivers in that tiny town had their headlights on during the day to make it through the smoky haze left over from a four-day fire. An overnight fire Friday brought down the fire and officials said fires were contained.