The sun burnt country is living up to its reputation. Only six weeks into the summer season and already severe bushfires have devastated Tasmania with more than 100 buildings, mostly homes, destroyed over the weekend.
Western Australia, Victoria and other parts of the wide brown land have also had their own bushfire emergencies.
Thankfully there have been no fatalities.
As NSW faces its worst fire danger day in history, every citizen has a responsibility to do the right thing and keep a close watch on their environment and those around them.
With all state forests and national parks closed and every firefighter in the state on standby, a single spark, act of negligence or carelessness has the potential to create a disaster of monumental proportions.
The last major fire in the Pilliga State Forests, the state’s biggest reserve of timber, burned for weeks and took more than 1000 firefighters to bring it under control.
The region does not want to see a repeat performance.
While forests and national parks are likely ignition points, senseless acts by arsonists also represent a serious risk.
To their credit, fire authorities and police have not downplayed the potential risk today and further intothis week, as temperatures rise and north-westerly winds create the perfect recipe for destructive fires.
They have given the public ample warning. They have spelt out clearly the danger and significant threat which faces almost every community in the state. And they have sought the public’s help to reduce the risk of serious fires which in these conditions have the potential to claim property and lives.
The need for public co-operation and support cannot be understated.
This time two years ago Australians watched on as Brisbane and other parts of the greater Brisbane area were consumed by flood waters resulting in the deaths of more than 35 people.
Eleven months ago in our own region, the Moree district was awash after flood waters inundated the town, causing tens of millions of dollars worth of damage to property and crops.
The rain has now been replaced by searing temperatures and bushfires which have inflicted devastating and deadly losses in previous emergencies Australia-wide.
Let’s hope on this occasion people heed the warnings, take the necessary precautions and put their own safety first.
The priority is to get through this bushfire emergency with no loss of life.