OPINION: Are we facing a summer from hell?
MORE than 50 bushfires are burning across Queensland.
The state is in uncharted territory as firefighting crews battle to get the upper hand in the worst start to the fire season on record.
The summer of 2018 brought record-breaking heat across Australia.
While it's too early to say whether this summer will bring such extremes, these fires seem like an ominous harbinger.
On Friday, just a week into September, authorities issued total fire bans in Queensland and parts of New South Wales, with extreme, and potentially catastrophic, conditions expected in some areas.
There is very little funding available for any proactive fire management and fire mitigation research, and that needs to change.
Wherever you are, you should have a fire plan - even if you live smack-bang in the middle of town.
We've seen fires tear through towns in Greece and California, what's to stop it from happening here?
There needs to be a paradigm shift in the way we look at fire and the way we think about fire.
The word 'unprecedented' has been used repeatedly to describe Queensland's weather the past few days, and this is the new reality that people have to live and plan for.
We can't expect the government to take control of all fire management.
We should be improving bushfire prevention so fewer people need to put their lives on the line to manage fires once they have already started.
Most importantly, there needs to be acceptance that the climate is changing. We are a country in the grip of extreme weather bingo.
We need to accept these events are going to get worse in the next few decades and plan accordingly - to adapt, and to be a part of the solution.