Heavy rain puts out months-long Aussie fires

The Citizen (KZN) - - World - Syd­ney

– Heavy rain was rais­ing hopes yes­ter­day for an end to Aus­tralia’s un­prece­dented bush­fire cri­sis, as down­pours douse blazes that have burned out of con­trol for months.

The dev­as­tat­ing fires, fu­elled by pro­longed drought and record-high tem­per­a­tures, have raged since Septem­ber, burn­ing more than 10 mil­lion hectares and killing 33 peo­ple.

An es­ti­mated bil­lion an­i­mals have per­ished in the fires that de­stroyed more than 2 500 homes.

The rains in New South Wales (NSW), which be­gan ear­lier in the week in some ar­eas and are fore­cast to ex­tend into next week, are ex­pected to drench a num­ber of the re­main­ing fires and help con­tain oth­ers.

“It’s break­ing the back of this bush­fire sea­son,” said Shane Fitzsimmon­s, the head of ru­ral fire­fight­ers in NSW, the state worst hit by the cri­sis.

By yes­ter­day af­ter­noon there were no bush­fires burn­ing in NSW at the most dan­ger­ous emer­gency or “watch and act” lev­els – a sit­u­a­tion vir­tu­ally un­seen in al­most half a year.

Vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers de­clared them­selves “over the moon” at the rain. – AFP

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