Official weather forecasts for Australia out on Thursday showed no substantial rains for at least three months, providing grim news as firefighters battle to get more than 100 bushfires raging across the east coast under control.
Wildfires in New South Wales and Queensland states have killed four people, destroyed hundreds of homes and wiped out 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of farmland and bush over the past week.
The fires have been fueled by tinder-dry conditions after three years of drought that experts say has been exacerbated by climate change, a factor that has sparked a sharp political debate in recent days.
Firefighters have said the blazes will burn for weeks without significant rainfall.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said there is just a 25% chance that the country’s east coast will receive average rainfall between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28.