Heavy rain puts out months-long Aussie fires
– 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