Australia's Grose Valley fire extinguished after 7 harrowing weeks: official

Source:Xinhua Published: 2020/2/6 12:03:26

Photo taken on Feb. 3, 2020 shows smoke from the bushfire burning in the south of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) moves to blanket the Australian capital Canberra. (Photo by Chu Chen/Xinhua)

A seven-week-long bushfire which has devastated Grose Valley of Australia's World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains National Park near Sydney, has finally been extinguished.

Talking to social media on Tuesday evening, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) informed the public of the long-anticipated good news.

"This afternoon we have some great news to report. After 47 long hard days of firefighting, we are pleased to say that the Grose Valley Fire is declared out," the RFS said.

"A big thank you to all fire crews from all agencies that have worked on this fire and thank you to all from the community that have supported the operations."

Burning through a staggering 510,000 hectares of land, Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill told local media the Grose Valley blaze has been subject of an incredible amount of work by both volunteers and paid emergency workers over weeks and weeks.

"This is a testament to their work," he said.

While Greenhill added that it will give people on the northern side of the Blue Mountains a moment to relax and reflect on the performances of emergency services, he warned that the danger is not over yet.

Two other major fires, Ruined Castle and Erskine Creek, are still active in the region with a combined radius of around 40,000 hectares.

"How much damage that's done to flora and fauna will become apparent when we can get in there and look at it," Greenhill said.

"We know our businesses have been absolutely hammered. We are open for business, we need people to come."

Although the economic and environmental impacts will be "more immediately dealt with," Greenhill said the psychosocial effects will take months, maybe years.

"Whether it's the firefighters and the families, people who have lost their homes or just people who have had to deal with the ongoing tension of when the fires were coming," he said.

So far this bushfire season, an estimated 18.6 million hectares of vegetation decimated across the whole of Australia, resulting in 34 fatalities and the destruction of around 3,000 homes.

"I think this is the fire season where Australians turned up to defend Australians," Greenhill said.

"There's been a lot said about the performance of governments at all levels, but there's one thing that's clear and that's the performance of regular Australians."

"Frankly, that to me is a real stand-out. Community turned out for community. The fact is we've got communities donating and doing the things you'd normally expect from government."


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