Hopes of containing Australia’s months-long bushfire crisis rose yesterday with heavy rain forecast, but toxic smoke in Melbourne disrupted warm-up events for the year’s first tennis Grand Slam.
Cool weather over recent days had already given some respite for exhausted firefighters spread out across vast swathes of the country, allowing some of the biggest blazes to be brought under control.
Optimism was further boosted yesterday with heavy rain forecast for some of the hotspots in the most populated eastern states of New South Wales and Victoria.
“It’s some pretty good news,” New South Wales Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
“We’ve been talking about it for months now, that January might see the first fall of decent rain, and that looks like what’s coming along over the next few days.”
The rain was set to begin across eastern Australia today and last through the weekend, according to government meteorologist Sarah Scully.
“Hopefully some of this heavy rainfall will fall over some of the fire sites and help control or even extinguish some of those fires,” Scully said.