Heavy rainfall in Australia’s New South Wales has forced the evacuation of several towns and the closure of more than 50 schools, but also extinguished some of the persistent bush fires that have devastated the state.
The country’s Bureau of Meteorology said the region has seen more than 200 millimeters (7.9 inches) of rainfall in the past 24 hours. In Sydney, preliminary information from the bureau showed that 391.6 millimeters (15.4 inches) of rain fell over the past four days – the city’s heaviest rainfall since 1990.
Scores of schools were temporarily closed by the Department of Education in New South Wales on Monday because of heavy flooding. The Bureau of Meteorology also issued a number of warnings for heavy rains, wind and further flooding on Monday.
New South Wales Rural Fire Service tweeted Monday, however, that the rains have helped to extinguish over 30 fires since Friday, describing it as the “most positive news we’ve had in some time.” Some of these blazes have been burning for months.
According to New South Wales Rural Fire Service media officer James Morris, the torrential rain helped put out the Currowan fire on Saturday. That particular fire burned 499,621 hectares of land over 74 days.
Morris said the ongoing rain was expected to put out the five remaining uncontrolled fires in the state.