"For the first time since early July 2019, there is currently no active bush or grass fires in [New South Wales]," fire authorities announced on Monday

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 03, 2020 10:12 AM
Advertisement

All blazes are now extinguished in a region of Australia harshly affected by the devastating wildfire crisis.

On Monday, fire officials announced that New South Wales is now free of flames after eight months of combating the disastrous bushfires. The news comes slightly more than two weeks after authorities announced that the blazes were “contained.”

“For the first time since early July 2019, there is currently no active bush or grass fires in #NSW,” wrote the NSW Rural Fire Service on Twitter. “That’s more than 240 days of fire activity for the state. #nswfires #nswrfs”

The fire service also rejoiced about incoming rainfall in parts of the country that need it most, tweeting that “smiles are slowly getting bigger” because of the relief in the form of precipitation.

On Feb. 13, it was announced that the region’s fires were contained, meaning crews had established perimeters around the flames to prevent further spreading. At the time, the NSW Rural Fire Service called the wildfire season “very traumatic, exhausting and anxious.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories

Bodalla, Australia, on Sunday
| Credit: Brook Mitchell/Getty

“It has taken a lot of work by firefighters, emergency services and communities to get to this point,” the NSW RFS wrote at the time.

In a video included in the tweet, Rob Rogers, deputy commissioner and executive director of operations at NSW RFS, said the area can now start to “rebuild” from the disaster.

“After what’s been a truly devastating fire season for both firefighters and residents, who’ve suffered through so much this season, all fires are now contained in New South Wales, which is great news,” he said at the time, “… we can really focus on helping people rebuild.”

According to CNN, the Australian bushfires have accounted for about 28 deaths, the destruction of some 3,000 homes and the loss of an estimated 1 billion animals.