Earlier in the day, parts of the Dunns Road and also East Ournie Creek fires had been a cause for concern.
Those two fires are part of the massive blaze near the Victorian border in the Snowy Valley.
Mr Bradstreet said the rain was welcome, but arriving in the form of thunderstorms “can be a double edged sword”.
“Whilst some rainfall [is] useful and helpful … it does come with its own risks particularly around falling trees [that pose] a significant hazard and a danger to firefighters”.
Light sprinkles of rain that have fallen in Sydney in recent days are set to continue into Tuesday as a trough moving through inland NSW starts to create thunderstorms, weather bureau meteorologist Jordan Notara said.
“As we get into midweek, we start to see intensification of storms throughout the state along that inland trough, and generally across parts of the east,” he said.
That storm activity will bring showers, mostly during the afternoon, with some more significant totals, up to 15 millimetres – but only in isolated areas where the storms hit.
Maximum temperatures throughout the week are set to hover just above the January average of 26 degrees.
Mr Notara said that, by Thursday and Friday, “broad areas of the state” would be affected by thunderstorms – and that communities, especially in firegrounds, would need to be alert to the potential threats those storms might pose in fire-damaged landscapes.
Mr Notara said that, even outside a damaging wind warning, which is for gusts of 90km/h or higher, winds accompanying thunderstorms “may be strong enough to fell large trees that have been damaged by fires”.
Bursts of heavy rainfall can also “create their own hazards for loosening soil that has been pre-damaged by the fires”, which can potentially lead to landslides, he said.
“That’s something [about which] we’ll need to be a bit more vigilant as we get towards those days.”
The rain can also hamper containment efforts, Mr Bradstreet said. Even in the last couple of days “a large number of backburning operations have had to be cancelled”.
He said the safety of firefighters was a priority and the danger of falling trees would be taken into consideration in planning activity on thunderstorm days.
While it can pose a challenge, Mr Bradstreet said any rain at the moment was welcome. “We just have to be conscious that a day or two of rain is not going to solve all of our problems.”
“Across pretty much all of the coastal areas, we’ve certainly seen an easing in conditions,” he said.
“For this week we’re looking at a slight easing trend through to Thursday and Friday where there are some forecasts of reasonable rainfall, so we are hopeful.”
Mr Bradstreet said that the 3500-hectare Yearinan Station Road fire had been contained, after reaching emergency level late last week. This follows on from Sunday’s news that the mammoth Gospers Mountain had been contained.
“We will continue to patrol that fire [Gopsers Mountain] and make sure no hot spots break those containment lines.”
The weather bureau’s eight-day forecast total rainfall map – showing potential totals of up to 50 millimetres – was enough to send the RFS Twitter account into celebration mode.
Whether the days of soaking rain that are really needed to stop the fires burning across the eastern seaboard are on the way remains to be seen, but the current pattern appears promising.
Mr Notara said the weather this week was shifting away from “true fire weather” towards a moister cycle that’s more consistent with what is usually seen over summer, which has been missing from the season so far.
“We have been seeing a general consistent pattern previously of dry, strong westerly winds with cold fronts moving across the state with little precipitation.
“What we are seeing now is moisture being dragged in from tropical regions into our state, with continuation of easterly winds over a number of days, increasing humidity levels along the coastline and bringing more potential for thunderstorm activity.”
However, Mr Notara said the pattern over the coming seven days “does not necessarily reflect what’s going to happen for the remainder of our severe weather season”.
The good news is that unlike what’s happened following thunderstorms accompanying cold fronts in the last couple of months, the thunderstorms are not forecast to precede hot, dry days – which means there should be less of an opportunity for any lightning strikes to ignite new infernos.
Jenny Noyes is a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald. She was previously a writer and editor at Daily Life.
Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.