Wildfires

Rain hits Australia's fire-ravaged states, but bushfires still burn

Rain falls on January 17, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for some parts of Sydney as the city experiences its wettest day in four months.
A downpour in Sydney, where a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for some parts as the city experiences its wettest weekend in four months, but bushfires continue to burn. Photo: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Heavy rain has triggered flash floods in the fire-ravaged Australian state of Queensland, SBS News reports. New South Wales also got a soak and further rainfall and thunderstorms were expected. But bushfires continued to burn over the weekend.

The state of play: There were over "50 reports of flooded roads across Queensland's southeast," per SBS, which notes flooded theme parks were forced to close. Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms were forecast for Victoria, where 15 fires were still burning, according to the Guardian. In NSW, over 1,300 firefighters were tackling flames across "69 firegrounds," the state's Rural Fire Service said, with 19 fires still not contained.

The future of firefighting

Illustration of a firefighter with his back to the viewer surrounded by lights and embers
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The world is entering the age of extreme fire — and we're increasingly unprepared for it.

The big picture: As we've seen in Australia, California and the Amazon, fires are burning hotter, longer and more frequently around the world. Our resources to suppress them are stretched dangerously thin. And even though the wildfires are getting worse, the way we fight them hasn't changed in a century.