Heavy Rain In Australia Brings Much-Needed Bush Fire Relief

by Christina Marfice
Brook Mitchell/Getty

Finally, finally, some good news for Australia

If there’s anywhere in the world where we needed some good news, it’s Australia. For months, the country has been battling its worst bush fire crisis in decades, seeing two dozen people killed, numerous homes destroyed, entire communities evacuated and displaced, and 1.25 billion animals killed (not counting those that are injured or left homeless by the destruction of their habitats).

But finally, finally, that good news is here. Many regions across Australia received what news reports are calling their “best rainfall in years” as storms covered the country and firefighters received some help they desperately needed thanks to nature.

Multiple regions across the country reported that they received as much rain as they would expect to see in an entire month, in just 24 hours.

“Relief is here for a number of firefighters working across NSW. Although this rain won’t extinguish all fires, it will certainly go a long way towards containment,” Australia’s NSW Rural Fire Service said in a tweet.

According to 9 News, “more than ten communities across all three states have received their best rainfall in years.”

The heavy rainfall follows one of the driest Decembers in Australian history. It brought with it storms with heavy winds, which knocked out power in some areas, but residents weren’t even upset about that. They’re just grateful to see the rain finally come and help stop some of the raging and destructive fires burning all over Australia. NSW Rural Fire Service said there are still 85 different bush and grass fires burning in New South Wales alone, but at this point, 30 of them are contained.

What’s even better news is that forecasters are calling for even more rain during the rest of this week and into the weekend, including up to four inches in some areas. That news alone has Australians rejoicing that their national nightmare might soon be over.

The fires in Australia started burning before Christmas, and due to hot, dry, and windy conditions exacerbated by climate change, they quickly reached crisis levels and made worldwide headlines. Smoke from the fires has circumnavigated the entire globe as of this week. Celebrities have been raising money to help — and encouraging their fans to make donations, too.

The estimate that 1.25 billion animals have been killed is actually conservative — the real number of wildlife casualties could be much higher. Experts say that reptiles account for most of those, as they’re generally too slow moving to escape the path of a wildfire. Birds and mammals have also been killed in large numbers, though, and koalas have seen huge swaths of their habitat destroyed.

Rain is good news in Australia, but that doesn’t mean this crisis is over. Wildlife rehabilitation groups, as well as organizations like the Australian Red Cross, will need more funds as they set about helping the country recover. Small businesses affected by the fires will need help for months and possibly years to come as they get back on their feet. In other words, putting out the fires is only the first step in what will be a long recovery.