Rain Falls On Australian Bushfires Granting Fire Fighters Christmas Break
After weeks upon weeks of bushfires ravaging Australia, the tireless firefighters have been granted a Christmas miracle – cooler temperatures and even a chance of rain.
New South Wales has been a prime victim in December’s never-ending infernos – last week, NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned that hundreds of buildings have been lost ‘as a result of ‘widespread damage and destruction’.
Thankfully, Mother Nature appears to be showing some mercy: today, December 25, rain is forecast for coastal NSW north of Newcastle, with a 50% chance of precipitation in Sydney and an easterly wind shifting smoke away from the city – as well as a maximum temperature of 26C.
Currently, the majority of coastal NSW is classified as low-moderate risk, with only the northwestern region distinguished as ‘very high’ risk.
While today may grant firefighters some well-earned respite, blazes loom very much in the horizon: the NSW government’s state of emergency – granting special powers to Fitzsimmons – expires tonight.
Meanwhile, around 75 bush and grass fires were still burning last night, including the mega-blaze in the Gospers Mountain, stretching across 460,000 acres and along the Grose River – now, it’s even crawling up the cliffs of the Grose Valley. Around 28 fires are yet to be contained.
This week will see more than 2,000 firefighters make necessary preparations before NSW’s conditions deteriorate again – it’s estimated that Penrith, west of Sydney, will reach highs of 37C on Saturday, December 28, and 39C on Sunday, December 29.
Although, danger levels aren’t expected to be quite as alarming. Fitzsimmons told reporters, as per the MailOnline:
We’re really trying to consolidate as much as we can, secure protection as best we can ahead of what’s expected to be hotter, drier and, this time, a bit more northerly in the winds.
It’s estimated that more than 800 homes in NSW have been destroyed, with a further 300 being damaged. In order to help combat the raging fires and get ‘more boots on the ground’, Commonwealth public service volunteers will be granted at least four weeks paid leave by the federal government.
This comes after the country’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, faced intense public backlash for holidaying in Hawaii as Australia turned to ash – even sparking furor from teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Over the past two days, rain has managed to fall on some of the driest areas in Australia, including the drought-ridden Armidale – on the NSW Northern Tablelands – which has been put on water restrictions as Malpas Dam catchment levels continue to dribble away.
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