Fire-ravaged areas expect huge downpour - but it will come with new dangers

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

Exhausted firefighters across Australia’s southeast are set to receive much-needed relief with an extended period of rain forecast for the coming week.

While the rain will ease the bushfire threat, crews will turn their attentions to strengthening containment lines across active blazes.

The Bureau of Meteorology shared their weekly rain forecast map on Monday morning, prompting celebrations from NSW’s Rural Fire Service on Twitter.

“If this BOM rainfall forecast comes to fruition then this will be all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one,” the RFS said.

The rain forecast for the current week shows Australia's east coast set for a soaking. Source: BOM

The map shows some parts of NSW’s central and northern tablelands receiving about 50mm for the week, and about 25mm falling all the way from the Victorian border to Queensland.

Fire-ravaged East Gippsland and parts of Victoria’s east will also receive up to 25mm.

And the majority of drought-stricken Queensland can expect 15-25mm of rain by Friday.

NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman Anthony Bradstreet said fire conditions would begin to ease on Monday.

"We would love rain everywhere," he said.

"Hopefully we will receive some good rainfall in fire affected areas."

Rain will give fireighters a period of respite in fire-ravaged areas. Pictured is a burnt Bendalong road receiving rain on January 5. Source: AAP

Sydney is expected to receive its most significant downpour in several months, with forecasts of 2-8mm on Thursday and 5-10mm on Friday.

Rain is expected on parts of the state most severely affected by bushfires in recent weeks, with the Snowy Mountains and South Coast forecast to receive rain and possible thunderstorms on Wednesday.

Rain brings added dangers to bushfire battle

BOM meteorologist Gabrielle Woodhouse said while rain would be welcome at the fire grounds, it may also bring dangers to fire-affected landscapes.

"We are looking at a couple of days in a row of some showers and thunderstorms, some of which may produce significant accumulation over those couple of days," she said.

"It will be quite welcome but there are some extra dangers and risks associated with it as the landscape is quite vulnerable with the fire damage. 

Firefighters who have battled giant blazes for weeks on end will receive much-needed relief from the fires. Pictured is crews fighting firesat Charmhaven. Source: AAP

"We've lost a lot of vegetation and there is the risk of landslips."

Thunderstorms and showers are forecast for most of NSW on Thursday when up to 25 millimetres is expected to fall on parts of the south coast.

Mr Bradstreet warned thunderstorms could create the risk of falling trees and landslips.

Crews will take advantage of the easing conditions to establish and strengthen containment lines for some 40 bushfires which are not yet contained, he added.

The RFS has said there are more than 100 fires still burning across the state and many will take some time to fully contain.

Air quality across much of the state including Sydney was very poor on Monday as a result of smoke from the bushfires.

Hazardous air quality was recorded in parts of Sydney's northwest, southwest, the Illawarra, Albury and Wagga Wagga.

Firefighters on Sunday brought under control one of the county's most damaging blazes - the Gospers Mountain fire which has burned for two-and-a-half months northwest of Sydney.

"After lightning started the fire on October 26, it has burnt through more than 512,000 hectares across the Lithgow, Hawkesbury, Hunter Valley, Cudgegong, Blue Mountains and Central Coast local government areas," the Hawkesbury RFS said on Facebook.

"It is important to remember not to be complacent as there are still a few months of the bushfire season to go with some bushland that still has not been burnt."

With AAP

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