Heavy rain, floods lash eastern Australia, help with fires

  • A couple shelter under an umbrellas as rain falls in Sydney, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, while the Bureau of Meteorology issued severe weather warning along the New South Wales state coast. The rain comes as a slight relief for some areas dealing with wildfires that devastated large swathes of land across the state over the last several months. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

CANBERRA, Australia — Heavy rains lashed parts of eastern Australian on Friday, causing some flooding in Sydney and bringing relief to firefighters still dealing with dozens of bush fires in parts of New South Wales state.

The state’s Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said he was optimistic the rain will help extinguish some blazes over the coming days. He said there were still 42 fires burning in the state, with 17 of those not contained.

“The rain is good for business and farms as well as being really good for quenching some of these fires we’ve been dealing with for many, many months,” he told Australia’s ABC TV network.

“We don’t want to see lots of widespread damage and disruption from flooding, but it is certainly a welcome change to the relentless campaign of hot, dry weather,” he added.

Heavy rain also drenched parts of Queensland state.

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