As the majority of the community stares longingly ahead at summer with thoughts of holidays, there are those for whom the season brings a different train of thought.
For much of Tasmania, summer doesn’t equate to barbecues and balmy nights. It means bushfires.
The state has already been warned about the pending bushfire season, and urged to get prepared early.
The warning was not premature. Already, the state’s East Coast has experienced a near-miss.
Late last month, a 15-day bushfire tested fire crews as it blazed through thousands of hectares of scrub, near St Helens.
Thankfully, the fire did not cause damage to property or infrastructure. The state has not always been so fortunate.
Last year, almost 30 fires raged across North and North-West Tasmania in the late summer.
In the space of a couple of weeks, more than 100,000 hectares were caught up in the fires, including almost 20,000 hectares of World Heritage Area land.
Earlier this year, we stopped to remember the Black Tuesday bushfires.
As one of the most devastating natural disaster’s in the state’s history, the Black Tuesday bushfires changed Tasmanians’ perceptions and attitudes towards bushfire preparedness.
The fire swept through the South-East, racking up a large damage and claimed the lives of 64 people.
It was a reminder reiterated in 2013, when a hotter-than-usual summer culminated in the Dunalley bushfires.
The threat of bushfires is not likely to disappear anytime soon.
As we’ve seen, the 2017-18 season has already begun, and has been predicted to be a high risk for much of the state.
For many bushfires, the cause comes straight from the environment in lightning strikes. Sometimes, that first devastating spark is human fault.
That’s why it’s important that we adhere to all fire restrictions and bans issued by the Tasmania Fire Service and emergency services this summer.
We need to do our part to protect the state’s natural environment, as well as our fellow Tasmanians who have chosen to base their lives here.
And we owe it to our emergency personnel who are staring down the barrel of an anxious few months.