me in a variety of e-mails whether we are safe from the bushfires. The answer is "yes, at present".
We live in suburbia although we are not that far from a "reserve" and a national park in the hills behind us. The hills also contain housing which should probably never have been built there.
So far the residents of those suburbs have been lucky. No major fire has ever gone through there. Were one to take hold loss of human life would be almost inevitable. Loss of property would be great.
We know people who live in those areas. Some might, with good fortune, reach the freeway and make it down to the plains. Others would probably not make it out through the maze of streets that twist and turn through the tree lined ups and downs. It looks like a lovely place to live until you realise just how dangerous it would be in a fire, especially if a long goods train should break down or stop for any reason across the main road or two smaller roads.
There is even one newish suburb in the hills. The houses there are the sort you might find in areas of Hollywood. They are huge. We went and looked once - being driven back from somewhere else by a man who was curious about the architecture of one house. The houses all have high tech security and, no doubt, sprinkler systems. That would not save them in a fire of the sort which has gone through parts of Tasmania, Victoria or New South Wales.
This is all part of summer in Australia. Although the Prime Minister claimed otherwise it has nothing to do with global warming. The professionals in the Weather Bureau and the scientists say otherwise. It must sometimes have happened before white settlement but we never learned of it.
What we need to do is keep the ground clear of undergrowth and train people not to be idiots because, believe it or not, one of the biggest fires was started by a camper in Tasmania.
So, yes we are here and safe - for now. I am not going to get complacent.