MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Intense thunderstorms with heavy rains dampened bushfires on Australia’s east coast on Friday, to the relief of exhausted firefighters and farmers battling years of drought, and granting a reprieve to the organizers of next week’s Australian Open.
Australia, famous for its pristine beaches and wildlife, has been fighting bushfires since September, with fires killing 29 people and millions of animals, and destroying more than 2,500 homes while razing an area roughly a third the size of Germany.
Victoria - New - South - Wales - Queensland
Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, three of the states most affected by drought and bushfires welcomed this week’s drenching rain, with fire services saying it would not extinguish all the blazes, but would greatly aid containment.
“Our fingers are crossed that this continues over the coming days,” New South Wales fire services said on Twitter on Friday.
Storms - Regions - New - South - Wales
Severe storms are forecast to continue in many fire-stricken regions of New South Wales and Queensland, including areas that have not seen heavy falls for years, weather officials in New South Wales said, slightly easing a three-year drought.
“The recent rain has just been absolutely fantastic,” said cattle farmer Sam White near the northern town of Guyra in New South Wales.
Amounts - Runoff - Dams
“It’s producing significant amounts of runoff, which is what we need, and it’s getting into our dams.”
While the wet weather brings relief to fire fighters and drought-hit farmers, it also comes with dangers, such as flash flooding and falling trees. One wildlife park had to...
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