Most bushfires across Australia extinguished, authorities say

After a devastating fire season, officials say there are no longer any active fires in the country's largest state

dpa, Hamburg, Germany

AUSTRALIA — Australia's largest state, New South Wales (NSW), is free of devastating bushfires for the first time in more than 240 days - but lost more than 5.5 million hectares of land to blazes - authorities say.

"The fire season officially ends for all of NSW on 31 March 2020. That being said there are currently no active fires within NSW," Rural Fire Service spokesman Greg Allan told dpa on Thursday.

Since August, more than 5.5 million hectares of land burned, 6.85% of the state's property.

The total perimeter of fire edge was 26,880 kilometers, Allan said.

Across Australia, more than 3,000 homes were destroyed as more than 12.5 million hectares of land burned. At least 33 people, including half a dozen firefighters, died during the bushfire season, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison called a "Black Summer."

In Victoria, where 1.5 million hectares of land burned as the Country Fire Service said "all significant fires are now contained," though the fire danger period remains in place throughout the state.

"Current weather conditions have substantially reduced fire activity and spread potential," a fire service spokesperson said Thursday.

"While fire behavior has decreased, crews are extinguishing residual hot spots identified near containment lines.

Meanwhile, in Western Australia, more than 1.5 million hectares have been burnt this bush season, with no active fire currently.

"The bushfires season is not necessarily over and we can’t say definitively when it will be," an official for the department of fire and emergency service told dpa.


©2020 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany)


For the first time since early July 2019, there are currently no active bush or grass fires in NSW. That’s more than 240 days of fire activity for the state. Photo: Wolter Peeters. SMH

Posted by NSW Rural Fire Service on Sunday, March 1, 2020


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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