With the vast majority of the news cycle centred firmly on the COVID-19 pandemic, you would be forgiven for shifting your focus away from to the disaster that gripped our nation before that dreaded virus arrived on our shores.
Seven months have passed since the fateful new year's eve fire that left all our hearts broken as details of the loss of life, stories of bravery and scenes of total destruction emerged in the following days.
The catastrophic summer bushfires ripped through our coastal and inland towns up and down the east coast of Australia.....where has that time gone?
Equally as astounding is the fact almost two and half years have passed since bushfire tore through Tathra, NSW and surrounds.
Frightening also is the fact our official bushfire season starts in a mere eight weeks.
Are we prepared for what we could well face again?
Do you have a bushfire survival plan?
As Bega District News journalist Alasdair McDonald reported, the long-awaited state inquiry into the March 2018 Tathra and districts bushfire commenced this week.
Police arson experts have given evidence, which revealed dead trees infested with termites likely fell on power lines in strong winds, which ignited the fire.
The blaze caused more than $63 million worth of damage and destroyed 56 homes and 35 outbuildings in and around the picturesque NSW far south coast town.
The inquiry heard one firefighter describe Tathra as being "under siege from embers from the sky".
It was also reported the fire developed quickly over a period of only nine minutes.
That's not a long time when you are attempting to flee or prepare to defend your property.
That's why a bushfire survival plan is so important.
Time and again, we have heard of people being caught "off-guard" and unprepared.
Sadly, the same could not be said for the 2019-20 summer bushfires, where 33 people died, 2439 homes were destroyed and 5.4 million hectares of NSW was scorched.
The NSW government has commissioned an independent inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfire season, meetings with affected communities have been conducted.
The inquiry was able to visit several towns and villages and meet residents face-to-face, however, COVID-19 restrictions meant other meetings were held via video conference.
"Unprecedented" and "unpredictable times" are words thrown around a lot these days as we muddle our way through this "new reality", and the summer we experienced was no different.
We can only hope these inquiries will help us better prepare for the future and give our communities much needed answers.
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