Australia's devastating bushfires have caused the deaths of at least 33 people and an estimated 1bn animals, but positive news has emerged that all bush and grass fires in New South Wales are now contained.
More than 11 million hectares of land have been destroyed this season, in what the NSW Rural Fire Service has described as a "very traumatic, exhausting and anxious bushfire season so far." "After what has been a truly devastating fire season for firefighters and residents who suffered through so much this season, all fires are now contained in New South Wales, which is great news," says deputy commissioner Rob Rogers. "Not all fires are out – there is still some fire activity on the far south of the state – but all fires are contained so we can really focus on helping people rebuild."
Recent heavy rain has helped to extinguish the fires that first began six months ago, and were not helped by the prolonged drought that Australia has experienced over the past three years, making forests tinder dry. The torrential downpour helped to put out the Currowan fire and the Lindfield Park Road fire, although they caused other issues like power outages and high winds, waves and tides. The Lindfield Park Road fire burned in the Port Macquarie region for 210 days, destroying 858 hectares, 400 of which were peat soils under the surface.
The final two fires to be contained were located in the Snowy Valley and Monaro areas. The perimeters of the fires have now been squared off and while some areas are still alight, the blaze is under control and won't travel elsewhere. The rain has been described as miraculous because the long-term forecast for the summer had predicted an 80% chance of below-average falls.