The new head of the ACT Bushfire Council has been confronting the threat of devastating blazes since she was a child growing up on a pine plantation in the Adelaide hills.
"My father was a forester and ... we could never go away on summer holidays because we had to stay on in case there was a fire," Sarah Ryan said.
"Fire never reached our house, but I do have a brother who worked in forestry and went missing for 24 hours during a very big fire in South Australia, so I do appreciate the importance of making sure that the ACT is well prepared against a fire."
The council chairperson was living in Canberra during the devastating 2003 bushfires, and said techniques in managing the threat of bushfires have improved dramatically.
"There are ways that the RFS and ESA can respond to fires like early-detection aircraft that weren't in place in 2003," she said.
"There's also been much better collaboration between NSW and the ACT. Fires don't respect the borders."
She said recent weather conditions had prompted concerns about the bushfire threat in the capital.
"We are more concerned about the upcoming season than we were last year," Dr Ryan said.
"There's been very little winter rain throughout south-east Australia and it's been quite warm, so it's expected that the fire season this year will be more hazardous."
Dr Ryan, who has previously served for two years on the council before her appointment as chairperson, said this year's bushfire season could also see more days with high levels of fire danger.
"There may be more days of severe fire warningss," she said.
Sunday marks the start of the new four-year term for the ACT Bushfire Council, following recent appointments by the territory government.
The 12-member council meets once a month and acts as an advisory body to government ministers on how best to prepare for bushfire threats in Canberra, as well as working closely with the ESA and other emergency services.
Previously serving as chair of the ACT Natural Resource Management Council and as deputy chancellor at the University of Canberra, Dr Ryan said she was looking forward to her new role.
"Like on any advisory board, the chair needs to be thinking ahead to the matters that the council needs to address, and there will be a more proactive role working with the ESA," she said.
Dr Ryan was first appointed to the council in 2015 after answering an ad in the paper.
The bushfire season got off to an early start, with a blaze in late September closing the Hume Highway for several hours north of Marulan, as well as threatening homes in Nowra on the south coast.
As the season continues, Dr Ryan said she will be working with the council to develop the group's annual report on fire preparedness, as well as developing plans for bushfire mitigation and preventative burns.
"We would also encourage people to keep a watch out for any bushfire warnings and take action," she said.