MARTIN Gilmour says: The stories and images coming out of the fire-ravaged Tasman Peninsula have been sobering indeed.
The loss of properties, farm animals, pets and livelihoods is difficult to comprehend.
Despite the fears of police there does not appear to be any loss of human life at this stage and that is indeed a blessing.
Communities do rebuild but the scars will be deep.
It is always heartening to see the way Australians cope and react in a time of crisis.
We are a nation built on fire and flood and sheer hard work.
The farming community in Northern Tasmania is already transporting fodder south.
Service groups and charities are collecting food and clothing as convoys of supplies head to the affected area.
Exhausted fire crews and police have worked tirelessly under the most trying conditions to keep people safe and save as much property as possible.
On Sunday fire crews from Victoria flew in to relieve our exhausted front- line crews.
To hear Victorian Deputy Premier Peter Ryan comment: "During Victoria's 2006 bushfires Tasmania came to our assistance. Now it's our chance to repay the favour."
This is the sort of camaraderie that defines a country.
Yesterday Prime Minister Julia Gillard also visited the affected area in a move that is sure to raise spirits.
Tasmania's, and indeed south-east Australia's, fire threat is far from over as we face at least another eight weeks of hot summer weather.
There are still more than 20 fires burning in Tasmania as the threat continues.
There are plenty of precautions that home owners can take but in many cases there is little that can be done in the face of a genuine bushfire fanned by strong winds.
Being prepared for an early evacuation is often the best advice.
And, being prepared to pitch in and help a fellow Tasmanian in their hour of need is just what we do.
- MARTIN GILMOUR, editor