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Australia battered by the elements at tail-end of record bushfire season

Click to play video 'Bushfires, cyclone and torrential rain hit Australia’s coasts' Bushfires, cyclone and torrential rain hit Australia’s coasts
Bushfires, cyclone and torrential rain hit Australia's coasts.

Following several months of wildfires that have devastated the country, Australia now has new causes for concern: torrential downpours, cyclones and flash flooding.

Over the weekend, the Land Down Under saw an array of natural disasters hit its coasts as bushfires burned through parts of the country’s western regions. Its east coast saw potentially life-threatening flash flooding and storms due to extreme rainfall.

Members of the Sutherland Strike Force Rural Fire Service (RFS) work to contain a spot fire on a property in Colinton, New South Wales, Australia, Feb. 1, 2020.
Members of the Sutherland Strike Force Rural Fire Service (RFS) work to contain a spot fire on a property in Colinton, New South Wales, Australia, Feb. 1, 2020. Sean Davey / EPA via The Associated Press

Western Australia is dealing with the after-effects of severe tropical Cyclone Damien, which saw fierce winds recorded at over 100 km/h.

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Click to play video 'Kangaroo tries to escape floodwater at Lake Conjola, New South Wales' Kangaroo tries to escape floodwater at Lake Conjola, New South Wales
Kangaroo tries to escape floodwater at Lake Conjola, New South Wales

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported on its website Sunday that Damien was in its final stages of weakening as it moves southwards over inland Pilbara and into the Gascoyne.

The system is expected to weaken below tropical cyclone intensity Sunday afternoon, they said, adding heavy rainfall and damaging winds are still possible in nearby areas for the next two days as the system tracks south.

Click to play video 'Bushfire-ravaged Australia continues to see rain and flooding' Bushfire-ravaged Australia continues to see rain and flooding
Bushfire-ravaged Australia continues to see rain and flooding

On the country’s east coast, New South Wales, hit hardest by Australia’s wildfires in 2019, is now in danger of life-threatening floods.

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In Dalby, roughly 200 kilometres west of Brisbane, an emergency flood alert was issued for residents after a creek overflowed. The Bureau of Meteorology said almost half the annual average of rainfall fell in some parts of NSW.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service said there were still more than 40 active fires in the area on Sunday, with half of them contained.

READ MORE: Australia’s west coast braces for Category 3 Cyclone Damien

New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told Reuters he was optimistic the rain would help extinguish some blazes over the coming days.

Click to play video 'Fridge swept down street by strong winds as cyclone hits Western Australia' Fridge swept down street by strong winds as cyclone hits Western Australia
Fridge swept down street by strong winds as cyclone hits Western Australia

“The rain is good for business and farms as well as being really good for quenching some of these fires we’ve been dealing with for many, many months,” he said.

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“We don’t want to see lots of widespread damage and disruption from flooding, but it is certainly a welcome change to the relentless campaign of hot, dry weather.”

Members of the Goulburn Valley Strike Force Rural Fire Service (RFS) monitor the Clear Range Bushfire near Colington, New South Wales, Australia, Feb. 1, 2020.
Members of the Goulburn Valley Strike Force Rural Fire Service (RFS) monitor the Clear Range Bushfire near Colington, New South Wales, Australia, Feb. 1, 2020. Sean Davey / EPA via The Associated Press

This was true for the Currowan wildfire south of Sydney, which scorched through 500,000 hectares of land and 312 homes over 74 days. NSW Fire Service said on their website it was extinguished by the rain late Saturday.

After an early start to one of the country’s driest bushfire seasons on record last year, the Australia wildfires have killed at least 33 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes.

— With files from Reuters and The Associated Press.