Heavy rains put out many Australian fires

SYDNEY --
Sydney has been hit by its heaviest rain in 30 years, bringing widespread flooding but also putting out two massive bushfires in New South Wales.

Australia's weather agency said 391.6mm of rain had fallen in the past four days in Sydney, more than three times the average rainfall for February.

About 100,000 homes are without power, and officials have warned flash floods could be life-threatening.

But the rainfall means only 17 fires are still burning across the state.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) on Monday afternoon that the rains had extinguished more than 30 fires over the weekend, calling it "the most positive news we've had in some time".

The latest to be declared out is the Gospers Mountain blaze, north-west of Sydney. Since October it has burned 512,000 hectares, and was considered a mega-blaze that was "too big to put out".

On Sunday, the Currowan fire, around the town of Shoalhaven, was also put out. It had burned for 74 days, destroying nearly 500,000 hectares and 312 homes. However, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has warned that fire-hit areas can be particularly prone to flooding, and that fast-moving waters can carry large amounts of debris.

Water levels in the Warragamba Dam have almost doubled over the weekend Water supplies in the region have also been replenished, after years of drought.

The Warragamba Dam, which supplies most of Sydney's water, is heading towards being 70% full, says WaterNSW. At the end of last week it was at only 42% after one of the driest years on record.

(c) BBC 02/09/2020

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