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Burned land and thick smoke covering Australia’s Kangaroo Island. Almost 5000 people live there. Image/NASA Earth Observatory/Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Relief for Australia as downpours expected to dampen fires

Widespread rainfall is forecast from later this week into early next week for the southeast coast of Australia, where bushfires continue to burn.

A big change in the weather will help firefighters still battling more than 100 fires in New South Wales and several blazes in Victoria.

 

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology expects a cold front to hit on Thursday, which will bring relief from the heat and also spark widespread showers and thunderstorms. 

Senior Meteorologist Dean Stewart from the Bureau of Meteorology Victoria said the storms could dump heavy rainfall in a very short period in Victoria.

The rain is welcome news to the NSW Rural Fire Service:

While the rainfall will not be enough to fully extingish the largest blazes, some smaller bushfires may be brought under control by the upcoming rainfall, according to Accuweather.

The improved conditions may also allow firefighters to get better containment on the larger and more dangerous fires, including the "megafire" that developed when three fires merged into one last Friday along the New South Wales and Victoria border.

More than 2,100 homes have been destroyed since the season began, including over 1,200 since January 1. Over 24,000 buildings have been saved, according to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Almost 30 people have died and it's estimated more than one billion animals have perished.

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