January 26, 2020 / 2:01 AM / 23 days ago

Heavy rains dampen fires in Australia's Queensland state, cause flooding

(This January 26 story corrects hectares calculation in first paragraph)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s bushfire-stricken state of Queensland saw heavy rainfalls on Sunday dampening some of the fires that have razed 2.5 million hectares (6.2 million acres) of land since September, but the wet weather caused major flooding.

Some areas received a quarter of the annual average rainfall, according to Reuters’ calculations, with the state’s Bureau of Meteorology saying coastal areas experienced up to 160 millimetres (6.3 inches) of rain in the 24-hour period to 9 a.m. on Sunday.

“More rain expected over the coming days,” the bureau said on Twitter.

Several people were rescued from floodwaters and some bridges and causeways were closed, but no severe damage had been reported.

Recent rains across drought-hit Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales states have substantially dampened many of the hundreds of bushfires that have burnt an area nearly the size of Greece and killed 33 people and millions of animals since September.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Michael Perry

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