It’s barely a year since the last fire went through my aunty’s neck of the woods, consuming everything in its path – all their sustainably farmed crops that they’d worked so hard to tend, their very livelihood, all of it gone. Back then the fire stopped just a metre from their home. They were lucky.

This time they’ve lost a caravan and god knows what else. Right now my aunty and cousin are in a cleared paddock on their property putting out spot fires. They’ve been fighting it since it started.

This fire is huge and relentless. Trees falling across access roads. Running out of water. Chainsawing their way to the creek to restock. Hardly any sleep. So exhausted they can barely walk. There’s little to no phone reception, but every now and then they can send an email to let us know they’re still alive.

Reports are that the nearby town of Nymboida has been decimated. Not just people’s homes and crops and animals and businesses, but also the community infrastructure that people rely on to come together – places for women’s groups, community food markets, etc..

Spare a thought for everyone fighting the fires in NSW and QLD at the moment. For the firies and RFS volunteers. For the chopper pilots running back and forth with more water. For the people who escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs. This coming Tuesday is set to bring worse conditions than Friday.

(Photo credit: my aunty Dian McSwiney, who is a legend)

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