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PICS: FINALLY! Welcome rain brings relief, slows down bush fires in Australia


Jan. 17, 2020

Canberra (dpa) – Despite welcome rain that helped slow down raging bush fires in some of the hardest-hit areas in two Australian states, a large area of World Heritage-listed forest on Sydney’s outskirts has been destroyed in the weeks-long blazes, officials said Friday…
Drought-hit New South Wales (NSW), the worst bush fire-hit state in Australia, was set to receive up to 50 millimetres of rain on Friday in parts of the state, the best downpour in several months.
“It won’t put all these fires out but certainly it’s slowed them right down and I think it’s given a significant morale boost,” Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers told Channel Seven television on Friday.
He said there had been rainfall “on most fires now, at least 10mm” since Wednesday evening, particularly in the state’s south “in areas where it’s harder to get to.”
Less than 80 bush fires were burning Friday afternoon in New South Wales, but all of them were at the lowest “advice” alert level.
In Victoria, there were 17 fires across the state, with one “evacuate now” order. Some new fires were sparked by lightning on Thursday, fire authorities said.
Some 1,700 firefighters in New South Wales and 1,500 in Victoria are battling the bush fires.
Large areas of World Heritage-listed forests have burned this bush fire season that started early in September, a government official confirmed.
“While it is too early to be definitive, around 80% of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (WHA) has been affected by fires of varying intensity,” a spokesperson for the New South Wales Department of Planning Industry and Environment told dpa on Friday.
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