'Unimaginable Grief': Residents Return To Bushfire-Ravaged Homes As Scattered Rain Offers Relief
Scattered rain that has begun to bring relief to some fire-hit communities in NSW and Victoria will continue on Tuesday as weary residents begin returning home to assess the damage.
Here's the latest on the bushfires in Australia's south-east on Tuesday morning.
Scattered showers should continue to fall on NSW fire grounds until midweek as attention turns to getting towns up and running.
More than 13mm fell at Merimbula on Monday, 9.8mm at Bega and 2mm at Nowra and Lake Conjola.
"It's not widespread amazing falls, but there is some falling from the sky," duty forecaster Gabrielle Woodhouse told AAP.
"We are looking at a few more showers and possible thunderstorms tomorrow and into Wednesday."
The Rural Fire Service is identifying roles for deployed Australian Defence Force personnel to carry out throughout the week, RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
NSW Transport Minister and Bega MP Andrew Constance has called on state and federal government to get support staff into fire-ravaged areas as soon as possible as communities grapple with "unimaginable grief".
Save The Children says it will roll out more of its child-friendly spaces to allow kids up to 12 to start to process their experiences with trained early childhood specialists - while offering their parents and caregivers time to speak to insurance providers and the like.
On the ASX, Bega Cheese shares slid eight per cent after saying that while none of its facilities had been damaged, employees and supplies were affected.
Bermagui's main supermarket opened late on Monday and is expected to be fully stocked by Tuesday morning, as residents across Bega Valley and Eurobodalla shires returned home.
"Do not sift through fire-damaged material until it has been inspected and verified to be asbestos-free," the Eurobodalla council warned its community.
But some from smaller villages, such as Wonboyn and the Deua River area, remain stuck and unable to go back.
Others are preparing to stay and defend when fire conditions escalate again on Friday. Temperatures could again surpass 40C.
Bundanoon couple Dianne Ross and Michael Hutchinson said evacuating on Saturday helped them become determined to make a plan to defend their home.
"We're not going to play 'we're going to defend until the place is on fire' but we'll defend it as much as possible," Hutchinson told AAP.
About 50 of the 127 fires burning across NSW late on Monday were uncontained. None were above advice level.
A person from south of Bombala in the Far South Coast region remains missing.
The rain that is giving bushfire-hit areas of eastern Victoria some much-needed relief will continue throughout Tuesday.
Monday saw all emergency warnings being downgraded, while 14 active fires continued burning statewide.
The number of active fires reported by Emergency Victoria was reduced from 31 as small fires merged in East Gippsland and the northeast.
The disastrous blazes have already burnt more than 1.2 million hectares across Victoria, killing two and injuring millions of wildlife.
Victoria Police are investigating whether a man killed in a car crash on the Goulburn Valley Highway northeast of Melbourne last Friday will be counted as the third bushfires fatality.
As of late evening on Monday, 13 "watch and act" warnings remained in place with crews working to make roads safe prior to reopening.
Emergency Victoria said there were 4,900kms of road to assess and deal with trees that a prone to falling, as well as other damage.
Conditions have eased in the fire areas, but the forecast is for spike days on Thursday-Friday, when temperatures will rise up to the high 30s.
"There's been a little bit of rain, but it's not making an impact on the fire. We know it won't, it will take a significant amount of rain over a significant amount of time to occur," Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp said on Monday.
The smoke layer that covered Victoria from the east all the way to Melbourne and Geelong is hoped to ease as southerly winds come through on Tuesday.
Clearer air conditions would help evacuate people still stranded in Mallacoota, where smoky conditions delayed Monday plans to airlift another 300 out of the coastal town.
Windy conditions have caused issues across the Kangaroo Island fire ground with Country Fire Service crews dealing with a number of break-outs as they battle to fully contain the blaze.
The CFS says a large fire continues to burn at Cape Borda, towards the lighthouse, in inaccessible terrain.
On the north coast, there are a number of areas of concern around Snug Cove and Stokes Bay where firefighters have responded to multiple flare-ups.
At Andamel, northwest of Vivonne Bay, there has also been renewed fire activity.
While in the Lathami Conservation Park, a controlled burn has been conducted producing smoke in the area.
So far the island fire has burnt more than 155,000 hectares inside a 300-kilometre perimeter with many homes and other buildings feared lost.
Most roads within the fire zone remain closed as work begins to replace key infrastructure.
The defence force will deliver an emergency water purification system after a treatment plant was damaged by fire.
SA Power Networks crews are on the island assessing the damage to electricity lines and other equipment, with many kilometres thought to be brought down.