New Smyrna Beach - Gov. Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency Monday as brush fires burned more than 8,000 acres, destroyed homes and forced authorities to shut down highways.

Officials are tracking about 50 active wildfires throughout the water-parched state, and Bush said lightning was probably not to blame in most cases.

"The likelihood is most of these fires have been created by either negligence or people doing harm," he said.

A fire in New Smyrna Beach has consumed about 1,300 acres and destroyed three homes. But most of the 1,000 people who were ordered to evacuate Sunday returned home Monday afternoon said Timber Weller, a spokesman for the state Division of Forestry.

A 12-mile stretch of Interstate 95 south of Daytona Beach was not expected to reopen until midmorning Tuesday because of fires burning in the median, according to Florida Highway Patrol. A 20-mile section of the interstate in Brevard County will be shut down early Tuesday morning as a precaution.

A brush fire forced the highway patrol to shut down more than four miles of Interstate 75 south of Tampa on Monday.

Smoke has been settling on roadways, contributing to collisions that have killed four people.