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Thu, 23 Jan 2020 05:16 GMT

Australia: Fires under Control, Rainfall Forecasted


7Dnews London - AFP

Mon, 13 Jan 2020 19:35 GMT

Fire departments and services in Australia announced, on Monday January 13th, their success in curbing the largest "megablaze" the country has ever known, and which has remained out of control for three months. Meanwhile rain is expected to start soon in the affected areas.

New South Wales (NSW) firefighters finally confirmed their success in combating the massive fire that was unabatedly devouring the mountainous area of Gospers, in Northeast Sydney's suburbs, AFP has reported.

 "A small area of burning still to complete, but the containment prognosis looks promising," said NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons during a visit to the region on Monday.

The fire in this national reserve destroyed an area equal to three times the area of Greater London, and caused other fire beds totalling an area of eight thousand square kilometres in total in this region alone.

As residents and authorities dealt with the scale of the damage caused by the disaster on Monday, the meteorological office announced that it expects rains of up to 50 millimetres next week in the affected areas, which will cause people to give a sigh of relief after months of drought.

In contrast, a Guardian report said that the heavy rains expected for this week are not likely to end the long-running fires in Australia, despite expected pockets of rain in bushfire-affected areas.

The RFS early on Monday Tweeted that if the forecast “comes to fruition then this will be all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one”.

But Anthony Bradstreet, spokesperson for the NSW RFS, said that the expected heavy rains, hours and days to come, would not be enough to put out fires across the state, The Guardian reported.

The spokesperson added, “With the period of drought we’ve experienced, we’d need to get extended periods of consistent rainfall in order to get the moisture content up enough for it to put out fires … which is unlikely.”

The fires, which have been exacerbated by climate change, have created a major wave of solidarity from around the world, with an influx of donations flowing in intended to help affected populations and animals.

The wealth of Australia’s plant and animal, which includes unique species in the world, has been greatly affected. According to estimates, about a billion animals have been killed by the fires, with vast areas of plants, trees and shrubs destoyed, AFP said.

Meanwhile, popular support for Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, fell to its lowest levels amid widespread anger over his government's mishandling of the fire crisis, according to a survey by Newspoll magazine published on Monday, Reuters has reported.

So far, at least 28 people have been killed in fire-related incidents that have destroyed 2,000 homes, and 11.2 million hectares (27.7 million acres).