Australia is fighting an unprecedented bushfire season, fueled by record temperatures and widespread drought.
The New South Wales (NSW) officials On Tuesday said fires had claimed 1,588 homes and damaged 653 more At least 25 people and millions of animals have died since September.
He said about 200 homes have been destroyed in neighbouring Victoria, adding to more than 100 lost in other states.
The Insurance Council of Australia estimated the damage bill had reached A$700m (£370m; $485m), but said it expected the cost to rise significantly.
With smoke tormenting cities including Canberra, Sydney and now Melbourne, doctors have warned of increased respiratory dangers – especially to vulnerable people, including pregnant women.
On Monday, the Bureau of Meteorology warned that visibility in Melbourne was less than 1km (0.62 miles) in many parts of the city and its surroundings.
Hundreds of properties were destroyed at the weekend. Rural towns and major cities saw red skies, falling ash and smoke that clogged the air.
The easing of conditions has allowed valuable supplies to be taken to affected areas.
The army said it had sent supplies, personnel, and vehicles to Kangaroo Island near the city of Adelaide in South Australia. The island has been devastated by bushfires, with two people killed last week.
The NSW Rural Fire Service said it had more than 2,600 people deployed on Tuesday to bolster containment lines between fires and populated areas.
Victoria Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp has warned people to expect “a changing, dynamic situation” later in the week.
Tuesday also saw the funeral of a firefighter who died on 19 December in an accident on the way to a major blaze near Sydney. Andrew O’Dwyer was killed alongside his colleague Harvey Keaton when their fire truck hit a fallen tree. (Culled from the BBC)