A MAN has spoken of the dangers his family are facing as wildfires continue to devastate Australia.

Andrew Wallin, who lives in Ribchester, has family in Warburton, Victoria, and Albury, in New South Wales, roughly 200 miles from Melbourne.

Mr Wallin, who moved to England in 1997, said his cousin Andrew Farrier and their family have sent him images of thick smoke that has covered Aubrey and surrounding areas.

The Ribchester Market organiser said Albury, an area in between Melbourne and Australia's capital, Canberra, has seen wildlife perish in the area as a result of the catastrophic fires that have plagued the country since September.

The 31-year-old said he has daily contact with his cousin's family and his grandmother, Judy Wallin, 85, who lives in Warburton, about an hours drive from Melbourne.

Mr Wallin said: "The family have said the skies look like a really dull day in winter in England - there's so much smoke it's blocking everything out.

"At one point the fires were only 20 minutes away from my family's home, but due to wind changes they've managed to avoid losing everything.

"We hope the wind direction doesn't change.

"The family have said they're being told to try and stay cool any way they can and try not to breathe in the smoke, which is very difficult.

"They've not been told to be evacuated yet, but anything can happen."

A volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul, a member of Morven Rural Fire Brigade, was killed while on duty at the Green Valley fire ground, east of Albury.

As of January 3, New South Wales officials said more than 1,600 homes were destroyed, 692 homes damaged and 11,071 homes were saved in the region.

About 200 homes have been destroyed in neighbouring Victoria, adding to more than 100 lost in other states.

Thunderstorms and showers brought some relief for firefighters battling deadly wildfires across Australia's drought-parched east coast on Wednesday.

But they also raised concerns that lightning will spark more fires before dangerous hot and windy conditions return.

Around 2,300 firefighters in New South Wales state were making the most of relatively benign conditions by frantically consolidating containment lines around more than 110 blazes and patrolling for lightning strikes, state rural fire service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

The unprecedented fire crisis in south-east Australia that has killed 25 people and shrouded major cities in smoke has focused many Australians on how the nation adapts to climate change.

Mr Wallin said: "All I can do is hope my family and everyone else stays safe.

"It's so sad for everyone seeing their neighbourhoods being destroyed."