Alberto Doused Florida Blazes

In the air and on the ground, fire chiefs are scouring parts of Central Florida looking out for stubborn brush fires.

They're assessing the fire danger, hoping that several days of rain finally knocked down all the fires that have blackened thousands of acres, including 6,000 acres alone in Brevard County.

After an aggressive all-day survey, firefighters are encouraged but not willing to say the fires are out, WESH 2 News reported.

The largest fire, in Port St. John, looks a lot different. Fire officials said it's surprising how green the area looks after burning so recently, but the same fire flared up as recently as this past Sunday.

"It was Sunday that it was a little bit of fire back in here, back on (state Road) 528," said resident Claudia Davis.

Flare-ups have been occurring since April in the Port St. John fire, and it's made residents feel nervous ever since. Firefighters have been a little anxious, too, so on Thursday they crossed the fire areas by air and on foot to look for smoke after four straight days of rain showers.

The results are inconclusive. They said things look a lot better, and inspectors found no active fires. But they said the areas that now look moist, green and cool could flare up again.

"If we don't get this continuous rain, if we dont get into that rainy season pattern, it's going to happen. Things are going to dry up again and we're going to be right back to where we were," one fire official said.

The towering flames have almost become a familiar sight for residents, and the smoke has been the worst part of it. It has caused fatal accidents and health problems for some sensitive people.

In the horse country community of Canaveral Groves, residents of the heavily wooded area have seen fire come within a few feet of their homes. They are feeling somewhat better about things now. The rain has, at least, finally taken away some of the smoke smell.

"It's been a big relief, and it's nice. I love the rain," one resident said.

As firefighters go through the burn areas, they are digging into the ground to feel for any heat. If there's heat, there's still fire in the muck, which has been a big problem.

The Port St. John area only received a little more than an inch of rain over the past four days, which will not go very far in keeping the fires from flaring up again, fire officials said.

In Volusia County, where a burn ban is still in effect, firefighters are watching 12 brush fires for flare-ups.

In Osceola County, crews are still monitoring the fire near U.S. Highway 192. Fire officials said it is still smoldering. And currently, there are no fires burning in Orange and Lake counties.

To comment on this story, send an e-mail to Dan Billow .

Copyright 2006 by WESH.COM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.