We are seeing constant reports about large uncontrolled fires burning in Victoria and New South Wales.
Other fires have had a large impact in other states, particularly some close to us in South Australia where there have been great numbers of stock lost near Kingston, not that far from our shire.
These fires have opened up political debate regarding reduction burns, with reporters in major media outlets ready to defend or attack according to their political allegiances.
So many seem to forget the great fires of the past, including what happened on Black Saturday only 11 years ago.
On that day 173 people died and 2000 houses were destroyed. Horsham was one of the towns hit by a firestorm.
A Royal Commission was held and many recommendations made. One of those said a target of 385,000 hectares per annum should be set for fuel reduction.
These fires have opened up political debate ...
Published figures for 2017-18 indicate 74,000 hectares were burnt, and 130,000 hectares in 2018-19. Fuel reduction burns planned around Nowa Nowa were intended to burn 370 hectares, but due to protesters only nine hectares were burned.
When the fires eventually go out there needs to be a roundtable conference between all parties to work out an agreement on fuel reductions to prevent this happening over and over again.
Three deaths have been reported in Victoria, however on Black Friday 1939 there were 71, Ash Wednesday 1983 there were 75 and Black Saturday 2009 resulted in 173 deaths.
If the heavily timbered areas surrounding Melbourne go up again like they did in 2009 it would be highly reasonable to expect the death toll to increase.
The people of East Gippsland need to be heard and listened to about what they feel is needed to make their towns safe in the future. The loss of a home, livestock, or personal possessions can have a lasting effect on a person's health.
We all should be thankful to the hundreds of CFA volunteers who do their best often under very difficult circumstances. Also for the use of fire bombers that have prevented fires across the Wimmera this summer from becoming much larger.
As I look around many towns I often see blocks full of tall grass, with no fuel reduction works.
Then I think how selfish some are to put their neighbours in danger, and expect volunteers to come to the rescue if a fire starts, expecting others to do what they should have done.
Are our councils hard enough on those who do nothing, especially those issued with clean-up notices?
Are we hard enough on those who deliberately light fires, especially when their actions result in somebody dying?