The rains caused flooding throughout regions of Australia while also putting out some of the ravaging bushfires

By Benjamin VanHoose
February 10, 2020 11:45 AM
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A bout of heavy rainfall proved to be a welcome sign of relief for Australia, as the country battles devastating bushfires.

Since late last week, New South Wales has experienced torrential rains that caused flooding and other storm damage, while also helping to extinguish out-of-control flames, according to CNN.

The southeastern Australian state’s Rural Fire Service tweeted on Sunday that the downpour was seen as a step forward in combatting the widespread wildfires, which have caused lasting damage to ecosystems and neighborhoods.

“This is the most positive news we’ve had in some time,” the NSW RFS officials wrote. “The recent rainfall has assisted firefighters to put over 30 fires out since Friday. Some of these blazes have been burning for weeks and even months.”

CNN reported that Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said Sydney has seen about 15 inches of rain in the past four days, which is the most it has had since 1990.

New South Wales on Monday
PETER LORIMER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
New South Wales on Monday

According to the Associated Press, some areas of the country experienced the most rain they’ve had in 50 years, causing severe weather warnings due to high winds, unusually high tides and flooding.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison shared the Rural Fire Service’s tweet on Monday morning, thanking those firefighters who have bravely helped combat the bushfires.

“Some great news. Thank you to all those who’ve been involved in fighting these fires,” he wrote.

According to the AP, the bushfires — which began in September amid an abnormally dry season — have killed at least 33 people and burned more than 3,000 houses and buildings.

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Tomerong, Australia on Jan. 8

An early estimate last month had experts believing more than 1 billion animals have died in the fires, including thousands of koalas and kangaroos native to the lands.

Last month, experts said that though climate change didn’t directly cause the fires, it played a major part in making the blazes the worst the country has ever seen.

“Any disaster that’s tied to the natural world has multiple causes,” Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council told PEOPLE at the time.

“Climate change didn’t cause these fires, but it sets the stage for making them more devastating,” he added. “They start more easily. They spread faster. They’re harder to fight and they’re more damaging.”