There was Rocco Barrella, gathering shopping carts in the parking lot of the Winn Dixie and pushing them in a long line back into the store. Typical day.
But hardly a typical summer, given the wildfires that have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres. The 70-year-old Barrella knew things could change at any moment.A day after more than 40,000 residents returned to Flagler County from a three-day evacuation because of wildfires, people resumed their routines, all the while knowing that the danger is still lurking.
Once lush areas are now charred, and small fires were still burning in the county south of Jacksonville. Weekend blazes destroyed 51 homes.
"I don't think we're out of the woods yet," Barrella said Tuesday. "There's a lot of woods out there, and it's still dry."
Patricia DeSimone refused to unpack the suitcase she hastily stuffed full with pictures, important papers and her wedding album. Friday's evacuation order came when four fires threatened to surround the county.
"Everything is still packed and ready to go," said DeSimone, 25.
Since Memorial Day, more than 2,000 fires have destroyed or damaged 356 homes and other structures in Florida and charred 483,261 acres. The cost of fighting the fires has topped $116 million and damage has been estimated at $276 million.
All mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted.
Three deaths have been reported since the fires began, all involving elderly people being moved out of Flagler County during Friday's evacuations.
Showers on Monday and Tuesday weren't enough to douse the flames or change the drought-like conditions. Statewide, 54 fires began Monday, burning 8,700 acres. In Flagler County, crews said 60 percent of the fires were contained, and 97 percent of the homes had escaped the flames.
Still, there were warnings against overconfidence.