After months of intense heat and devastating bushfires, Australia’s east coast was battered by heavy rainstorms Saturday, causing flash flooding in parts and road closures.
Major highways were closed in Queensland as the state was hit with some of the heaviest rain the country has seen for months. There were power cuts in parts of New South Wales.
Parts of the state also saw triple the monthly rainfall overnight. While no major damage has been reported, some residential areas were flooded and many of the state’s parks and tourist attractions were closed down.
Despite the downpour, authorities are still battling nearly 100 blazes, which have killed 29 people since September and destroyed more than 2,500 homes. Smoke from the wildfires has also circumnavigated the globe, NASA announced Tuesday.
New South Wales fire services nonetheless welcomed the rain, which they said would help to control the 75 fires burning in the state. However, around 25 are yet to be contained.
“Although this rain won’t extinguish all fires, it will certainly go a long way towards containment,” they tweeted.
Where flames have subsided, biologists are starting to look for survivors of the estimated more than one billion wild animals that have been killed in the blaze. Their hope is to find enough rare and endangered species to rebuild populations of creatures found nowhere else on the planet such as koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies.
“I don’t think we’ve seen a single event in Australia that has destroyed so much habitat and pushed so many creatures to the very brink of extinction,” Kingsley Dixon, an ecologist at Curtin University in Perth, told the Associated Press.