If hell on Earth exists, it surely must be here - inside the unholy netherworld of an out-of-control bushfire.
Daytime turns to darkness, embers rain horizontally like a sandstorm on steroids, sucking winds and thunder mimic a freight train as the fire consumes the air, heat blasts like a kiln and a heinous wall of fire wheels around as if on mercurial castors.
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Next come the firestorms, when smoke plumes become so intense and immense they create their own weather systems, bringing buffeting and erratic winds, lightning, black hail and, in some cases, tornadoes.
These extreme events - once again tearing through communities in New South Wales and Queensland this week - have it over all known firefighting technologies. The courageous men and women who go into this Gehenna in an attempt to preserve property and life deserve our awe and admiration.
Surely, they - and the residents of these charred and devastated communities - warrant fresh thinking on what feeds these calamitous events and our response to them?
One could argue we have always faced fire risks but these events are certainly not diminishing. Prolonged droughts and wizened high temperatures are carried on strong winds into areas where tinder-dry trees and scrub dominate the vegetation. In the Australian setting, eucalyptus trees excrete an oleaginous vapour, effectively adding an explosive element to already highly flammable oxygen.
Fire seasons have become longer. Last month, there were uncontrolled fires burning simultaneously in Tasmania and California. Both hemispheres with major conflagrations frustrates efforts to internationally share firefighting personnel and equipment.
Fire weather patterns, manifesting now around the globe, match predictions from climate change analysts. Climate change may not be sparking the initial flare but it does supply the conditions for the risks to proliferate.
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It is one thing to say people should not build near eucalyptus forests. This would rule out much of Australia. Fire breaks, too, have only so much capacity, one firestorm this week jumped the Pacific Highway.
In New Zealand, we know this is coming. It is time for authorities - central and local - to factor fire prevention, containment and extinguishing into every aspect of planning.