Cooler weather, rain give Australian firefighters reprieve in battle against raging wildfires

Firefighters battling dozens of wildfires in Australia's most populous state have merged two of the more worrying blazes to try to reduce the threat of a more unpredictable inferno taking hold.

There had been fears that three fires near the Blue Mountains west of Sydney would burn together in a massive, erratic wall of fire that would be difficult to control. So firefighters struck first and joined two of the fires together to form one blaze that is easier to manage.

Cooler temperatures and light rain on Tuesday gave thousands of firefighters a reprieve in fighting the blazes.

Wildfires have killed one man and destroyed 208 homes in New South Wales state since last week.