United States sends more firefighters to help battle Australia blazes

Australian fires Victoria extends the state of disaster before weather conditions worsen

"We still have a long fire season ahead of us so we plead that everyone remains vigilant, this cooler weather is huge relief to everyone, but it is only a matter of time until the hot, windy weather returns", said NSW Rural Fire Service Rylstone Station in a Facebook post.
Conditions were milder on Saturday and the forecast remained relatively benign for next week. Thousands of protesters gathered in Sydney and Melbourne on Friday calling for Morrison to be sacked and Australia to take tougher action on global warming.

Meanwhile, thousands of people took to the streets on Friday in different cities in Australia to protest against the government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and their environmental policies in the face of the bad situation caused in the country by the virulent forest fires recorded in recent months.

Visiting the area on Monday, New South Wales Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said there was a "small area of burning still to complete" but the "containment prognosis looks promising". Morrison said that the government has been working with the Victorian Government to declare three of those councils as Category C assistance areas.

The fires have emitted 400 megatonnes of carbon dioxide and produced harmful pollutants, the European Union's Copernicus monitoring programme said.

In Victoria, a fire near the city of Wodonga forced evacuations during the night.

"The government's policy is set by the Cabinet". Morrison also announced that A $ 76 million ($ 52 million) will be spent to provide psychological counseling to firefighters and fire-affected communities as part of a previously announced 2 billion Australian dollar ($ 1.4 billion) stimulus package.

A firefighter has been killed while battling the Australian wildfire crisis, taking the death toll to 27 people since September.

The firefighter's death follows the death of another Forest Fires Management employee, Mat Kavanagh, 43, who was killed in a auto accident on the Goulburn Valley Highway while on January 3.

The U.S., Australia and New Zealand have been exchanging fire assistance for more than 15 years.

The progress came after a firefighter was killed by a falling tree.

The married father of two, 60, was congratulated in November on 40 years of service to the forestry agency.

The crisis has brought accusations that Prime Minister Scott Morrison's conservative government needs to take more action to counter climate change, which experts say has worsened the blazes. Another junior lawmaker, Craig Kelly, has also publicly denied any link between climate change and the fire crisis.

It comes as the fire threat across the east was slightly downgraded, with all alerts across the state sitting at a watch and act level or lower at midday Monday.



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