By Alison Fox
January 13, 2020
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Australia is expected to get heavy rain this week, but officials say it won’t be enough to tamp down the raging wildfires that have gripped the country for months.

The heavy rains are forecasted to hit the central and northern coasts on Monday, The Guardian reported, with thunderstorms and showers predicted Thursday for most of New South Wales, which has been the hardest hit by the bushfires.

The NSW Rural Fire Service initially tweeted that if the “rainfall forecast comes to fruition then this will be all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one.” But NSW Rural Fire Service spokesperson Anthony Bradstreet delivered a more grim outlook, telling Guardian Australia the rain is not likely to put out the fires.

“With the period of drought we’ve experienced, we’d need to get extended periods of consistent rainfall in order to get the moisture content up enough for it to put out fires … which is unlikely,” Bradstreet said.

Bushfires in Australia have raged out of control for months, causing widespread devastation and resulting in the U.S. State Department issuing a travel advisory for the country. Celebrities have lent their star power to raise money to fight the flames and firefighters from as far as America and Canada have stepped in to help.

But the blazes still continue to rage.

Over the weekend, the iconic Sydney Opera House lit up in tribute to the Australian firefighters who are working to douse the flames. The venue on Sydney’s harbor lit up its sails, featuring images of the hardworking firefighters.

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“Tonight, we are illuminating the Sydney Opera House sails to show our support for everyone affected by the Australian bushfires,” the Opera House wrote in a tweet. “We want to send a message of hope and strength, and importantly to thank the emergency services and volunteers for their incredible efforts and courage.”

In March, the Sydney Opera House and Live Nation will host an outdoor comedy fundraiser with proceeds set to go toward the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund, the NSW Rural Fire Service, Wildlife Victoria and WIRES, according to the Opera House. Tickets for that go on sale January 15.