Energy & Environment

Australian fires declared ‘contained’ after devastating season

wildfires and health, health impacts of fire, australia bushfires and health
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Mount Adrah, Australia on Jan. 10, 2020

An Australian fire service announced Thursday that all wildfires in the state of South Wales were contained after weeks of firefighters’ efforts to battle the blazes.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service tweeted early Thursday that the turning point marked the beginning of the end of what was “a truly devastating fire season for both firefighters and residents.”

“In what has been a very traumatic, exhausting and anxious bush fire season so far, for the first time this season all bush and grass fires in NSW are now contained,” the tweet reads. “It has taken a lot of work by firefighters, emergency services and communities to get to this point.”

Twenty-eight people are thought to have died in the wildfires, and about 3,000 homes are estimated to have been destroyed. Meanwhile, the southeastern coastal region now faces a new challenge in the form of torrential rain and severe thunderstorms forecast for the next several days, according to CNN.

High volumes of rainfall are credited with helping firefighters battle the blazes, which experts say were greatly exacerbated by a warming climate.

“The long-term warming has increased the frequency and severity of severe heat across the world,” Stanford University climate professor Noah Diffenbaugh said of the fires in January. “When low precipitation conditions do occur, they’re more likely to co-occur with high temperature and that combination … elevates wildfire risk. And that is exactly what we’re seeing in Australia right now.”

Tags Australian Capital Territory Rural Fire Service Firefighting New South Wales bushfires New South Wales Rural Fire Service Wildfire

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