The same day all of New South Wales was declared in drought, the state's Rural Fire Service issued its earliest ever total fire bans.
Australia's national obsession with prescribed burning won't be enough to manage the growing risk of devastating bushfires.
Leaving early is the best response to a bushfire, but it's not always possible. Every house is different, but there are some general guidelines for finding the safest spots to shelter in your home.
We can manage the risks from bushfires far more effectively if we look at the ways different plant species control the the way the fires burn.
You might think having trees around your home is the worst idea during a bushfire, but some plants can actually help repel fire.