As devastating bushfires tear through communities on the east coast of the country, emergency services in Western Australia are holding their breath.
After a series of relatively mild summers, and a relatively dry winter this year, fire authorities warn bushfire conditions heading into summer are on a par with some of the worst seen in recent years.
Dozens of volunteer firefighters from WA have been sent to New South Wales to assist local crews dealing with catastrophic fire conditions.
But firefighters back home have been kept busy too.
Already this season,three fires have triggered emergency warningsand with a hotter than average summer predicted, authorities are bracing for plenty more.
Just how bad are conditions expected to get in WA?
The Bureau of Meteorology's summer climate outlook predicts hotter than average temperatures for most of the state — and the rest of Australia.
But it is not just high temperatures and low rainfall that influence fire risk.
"We look athigh temperatures, we look atlow humidities/dry air, we're also looking atstrong windsas well," WA Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) spokesman Neil Bennett said.
"The fourth one is thecondition of the vegetation.
"If the vegetation is slightly damp, it takes a lot more to ignite it, whereas as we move into the drier months, we start to see what we call the'curing' approaching 100 per cent, which means there's no moisture left in that fuel and so we're going to see them ignite very rapidly."
Which areas of WA are most at risk?
The state's heavily vegetatedSouth Westregion is considered most at risk every bushfire season, but this year authorities are also alert to the threat further north.
"TheDarling Scarparea of Perth and theGreater South Westarea is always prone to bushfires," Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Commissioner Darren Klemm said.
"Also on the back of that significant rainfall after Cyclone Veronica, areas of thePilbarahave a lot of vegetation growth up there which presents a risk."
How do fire authorities determine fire risk?
One of the many tools used to predict the risk of bushfire is the "soil dryness index", which measures the level of moisture in soil and vegetation.
"It drives the understanding of exactly how dry the landscape is," Commissioner Klemm said.
"We're seeing right now that we're on par with the soil dryness at the same time as 2015 when we had Esperance and the Waroona/Yarloop fire."
WA hasn't had a significant fire for a few years. Are we due?
Commissioner Klemm said there were several factors that could increase the risk of a bad fire season, relating to bothenvironmental conditionsandhuman behaviour.
"I think there's always the chance that the longer it's been since we've had a significant fire, the likelihood is increased," he said.
As time passed following a big bushfire event, people could become less aware of the dangers bushfires presented.
"It also creates some concerns for us around thecomplacency of the communityto the threat of bushfire and the risk associated with it."
What aircraft will be available to fight any bushfires?
The large air crane nicknamed"Georgia Peach"will be back in WA and ready to fight fires in December, after being deployed in Europe during its fire season this year.
It will be part of a fleet of29 aircraftavailable to state fire authorities to map, spot and battle bushfires.
For the worst fires — like those in Northcliffe in 2015 — WA can call forback-up from the Melbourne-based National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC), which allocates aircraft to all states and territories.
The NAFC says it has so far been able to manage demand.
"When a state sees a need for extra resources to address surges in activity, we attempt to match the request to resources that we know are potentially available in other states. To date this has worked well," NAFC general manager Richard Alder said.
"Hypothetically we could have two 'busy' states competing for available resources, but so far we have always been able to mix and match.
"If a resolution was needed the CCOSC — a committee of commissioners and chief officers from all the states [and] territories — would sort it out."ABC