With Australia still being plagued by raging wildfires, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons reportedly said firefighters were on 'heightened levels of alert' as scorching temperatures and strong winds could whip up new bushfires. While speaking to an international media outlet, Fitzsimmons said there is every potential for flare-ups and new ignitions to come out of some of the fire grounds.
He also further added that there are still pockets that are burning and smouldering and tree stumps or branches are likely to flare up under such conditions.
According to reports, the unprecedented bushfires have killed approximately 29 people and has already left thousands of people homeless and thousands of others had to evacuate repeatedly. The blazes have also been followed by extreme weather including intense storms that have battered parts of Australia with giant hail, floods and landslides.
The recent heavy rainfalls helped to contain and extinguish some long-running fires but now an expected return to searing heat and gusting winds was reportedly flagged as a cause of concern for as dozens of fires still continue to burn.
Amid the bushfires, earlier this week, Australia also boosted emergency funding for small scale businesses hit by wildfires. The number of tourists planning to visit Australia has also fallen sharply 10-20 per cent since the fire began and it is estimated to lose AUS $4.5 billion ($3 billion) this year, as per the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC).
The Australian Government has reportedly decided to pledge $52 million to help revive the tourism industry in the aftermath of the devastating bushfires.
A lot of the bushfires were only recently brought under the control after the fires scorched an area which is roughly the size of Germany. Heavy rains in Australia that started this week has greatly helped dampen the effects of the fire. However, the severe rains had caused major highways in Queensland to close down while New South Wales had been experiencing power cuts.