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American firefighters battle Aussie wildfires

Firefighters from the U.S. are making a difference combating the massive bush fires ravaging Australia.

The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season. So far, the blazes have killed 28 people and nearly half a billion animals, destroyed 2,000 homes, and scorched an area of more than 25.5 million acres -- roughly the size of South Korea.

Intense Thunderstorms Bring Relief and Problems to Fire-Ravaged Australia

Intense thunderstorms have brought hail and strong rains to some regions of Australia, where bushfires have been burning at an unprecedented scale.

Farmers and firefighters alike celebrated the rain, which has helped disperse smoke in Melbourne and could dampen bushfires. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, however, has been weary to celebrate, calling the thunderstorms a “double edge sword.” The storms have ushered in a host of new problems like flooding while exacerbating old ones; lightning strikes have sparked at least two new fires in the Great Otway National Park.