Firefighters are investing blood, sweat and tears as they battle blazes across Australia.
At a time when many Australians are sharing holidays with loved ones, thousands are forgoing the festive season to help their communities on tankers, in control centres and make-shift campsites. They are heroes.
Firefighters from across the region have been involved interstate and in other parts of Victoria but we have our own emergencies now.
A fire sparked by lightning on Monday night at Budj Bim was out of control on Friday, prompting authorities to issue an evacuation advice for residents in Tyrendarra and Bessiebelle. The Mount Eccles fire, said to be the first in the scenic crater and Lake Surprise in half a century, was not on the scale of fires in eastern Victoria and New South Wales, but it has presented challenges for firefighters. So too the fires that have burnt for two weeks in inaccessible country in the Lake Condah area.
Authorities this week conceded they had been unable to throw the resources they would like at the fires because equipment and people were deployed in other parts of the country where walls of flames engulfed towns and took lives.
We know we need to be vigilant when it comes to fires in summer but given the stretched resources, we need to even more careful and aware to ensure our communities are safe. We need to protect ourselves as much as we can. Prevention is paramount.
We in the south-west understand and sadly know too well the impacts of fires. Ash Wednesday, Black Saturday and St Patrick's Day 2018 scarred us and our landscape. We were grateful for the outpouring of support and donations during and after those fires.
Now it is our turn to help again. A Camperdown-based initiative to take donated hay, fodder and other items to ravaged parts of NSW received overwhelming support on Thursday night. There will be more opportunities to help because affected communities face a long road to recovery.
Our thoughts are with those impacted and the families of our heroes risking their lives for others.