Rain brings joy for Oz firefighters, farmers

SYDNEY (AFP) – Drought-breaking storms dumped desperately needed rain on some bushfire-ravaged parts of eastern Australia yesterday, while giving joy to many farmers who have faced losing precious livestock and crops.

The rains gave exhausted firefighters a boost in battling some of the blazes, with more relief expected over the weekend as the wet weather is forecast to hit other hotspots. The unprecedented fires, fuelled by climate change and a years-long drought, have claimed 28 lives over the past five months.

They have scorched massive tracts of pristine forests in eastern and southern Australia, decimated livestock on already barren farms and destroyed 2,000 homes.