Date
26 February 2020
Pedestrians brave strong wind and rain in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, on Feb 9. The rains have helped put out bushfires that have been raging for months in the state. Photo: Reuters
Pedestrians brave strong wind and rain in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, on Feb 9. The rains have helped put out bushfires that have been raging for months in the state. Photo: Reuters

Australia NSW state says fires contained for 1st time since Sept

Fires across Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state are now contained for the first time in nearly six months, authorities said on Friday, as heavy rains aid firefighters, Reuters reports.

“After what’s been a truly devastating fire season for both firefighters and residents who suffered through so much this season, all fires are now contained in New South Wales. Which is great news,” Rob Rogers, deputy commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The current situation is a far cry from the peak of the crisis in early January when NSW firefighters were battling almost 150 fires that produced a firefront about 6,000 kilometers long.

Blazes across the country have razed nearly 12 million hectares of tinder-dry bushland, killing 33 people and an estimated 1 billion native animals, since September.

The fires destroyed thousands of homes and prompted mass evacuations of both locals and tourists under red skies during Australia’s peak summer holiday period.

As well as aiding firefighting efforts, a deluge of rains in recent days has boosted dam levels across NSW, home to more than 7 million people.

Nearly 400 millimeters of rain fell in the Sydney area and surrounding areas. The Warragamba Dam, which supplies about four-fifths of Sydney’s water, is now 76.5 percent full and marking the highest level since April 2018.

Further rains are also seen arriving over the coming days, with more than 50 mm of moisture across the state over the next five days.

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