Australia bushfires: Veteran firefighter killed overnight while battling blaze in Victoria

A veteran firefighter has been killed overnight while battling a bushfire in Victoria, bringing the total death toll from Australia's worst-ever bushfire season to 28 nationwide.

On Sunday, the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House were aglow with a moving tribute to those who fought on the front line, as the news broke that another firefighter died while on duty.

Bill Slade, 60, was killed by a falling tree as he was fighting a blaze in East Gippsland, the fourth person to be killed by Victoria's devastating fires.

"Bill contributed over 40 years [to] firefighting and caring for national parks in South Gippsland and I recently had the privilege of presenting him with his 40-year service recognition, which was an honour," Parks Victoria CEO Matt Jackson said.

Calmer conditions in recent days have allowed firefighters to concentrate on managing the blazes, with around 20 fires now contained across Victoria.

The respite in the weather also meant some restorative work could be tackled, with a number of tradies flown into fire-ravaged Corryong to restore essential services to the small rural town.

Although fires continue to burn in New South Wales (NSW), the task of rebuilding is underway, with large parts of the ravaged south coast finally reopening for tourists after a mass evacuation almost two weeks ago.

The damage to property is evident - but the impacts of the devastation on people will take longer to heal.  

On Sunday, the federal government announced an AU$76 million investment in the mental health of bushfire victims suffering from trauma as a result of this crisis.

"There has been a deep scar on the landscape that has been left right across our country but I am also very mindful, as is the government, of the very real scars that will be there for quite a period of time to come," Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

"The government has set its targets and we're going to look to meet and beat those targets... that's what we've done in Kyoto, that's what I intend for us to do when it comes to Paris."

The weather forecast bodes well for some respite over the next 10 days.

"Fairly benign conditions for the next week...there's a chance of thunderstorms coming through... there could be some more rain," Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner, Andrew Crisp, said.

Encouraging signs - but still not enough to guarantee that the danger is over.

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