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Australia fires Rain brings relief but of huge blazes expected ahead


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Canberra, January 6, : Rain has fallen in fire-ravaged parts of Australia and temperatures have dropped – but officials have warned that blazes will “take off” again.
Sooty rain fell down the east coast, from Sydney to Melbourne, with “torrential” rain reported in some parts of New South Wales (NSW).
But on Sunday night officials warned temperatures would rise by Thursday.
They also said huge fires in Victoria and New South Wales could meet to create a larger “mega blaze”.
“There is no room for complacency,” NSW state Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned on Monday morning.
“This morning it is all about recovery, making sure people who have been displaced have somewhere safe.”
Despite the respite, haze pollution remained dangerously high.
The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra was shut on Monday “to mitigate any risk to the public, staff and works of art on display”. The Australian National University in the capital is also closed.
Further south, Victoria’s Bureau of Meteorology warned that visibility in Melbourne was less than 1km (0.62 miles) in many parts of the city and its surroundings.
The weekend saw some of the worst days of the crisis so far, with hundreds more properties destroyed. Rural towns and major cities saw red skies, falling ash and smoke that clogged the air.
But by Monday, there were no emergency warnings in fire-ravaged states, following the weather change.
Victoria state had 25 “watch and act” alerts and South Australia had one “watch and act” alert.
In NSW, all fires were back at the “advice” level, the lowest alert level, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
However, Victoria Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp warned “it will warm up” and the fires “will take off again”.
On Monday morning, there were only around 10km between a blaze in Victoria’s Corryong and two burning at Kosciuszko National Park in NSW.
“This will be a changing, dynamic situation,” he said, warning it was “inevitable” the fires would join across the border.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said more than A$100,000 (£53,000, $69,000) would be released for disaster relief – while A$2bn would be committed to recovery over the next two years.

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