VICTORIA, Australia (NBC) – Heavy rain and storms swept over parts of Australia’s Victoria state Wednesday, bringing some relief to the air quality in Melbourne.
Melbourne had earlier been shrouded in a smoky haze from the devastating wildfires that have been burning for weeks.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning for large parts of the state, including Melbourne.
In Sydney, authorities deployed booms and silt curtains in the Warragamba Dam to keep the city’s water supply from ash contamination.
The fires have claimed at least 28 lives since September and more than 2,600 homes have been destroyed.
Thousands of animals have also been estimated to have been killed and injured.
Koala hospitals in the fire-affected states continued to treat the injured animals.
Australian Defense Force soldiers dropped hay bales to remote farms on the devastated Kangaroo Island.
Much of the pasture used to feed livestock on the island has been destroyed by fire.