Inside the emergency shelters, the strain of the worry and the waiting shows on the faces of those who fled from the NSW fires this week, uncertain as to what they may find when allowed to return home.
These recent images have a special resonance for many people in Canberra who were victims of the firestorm which swept into the suburbs of the nation's capital in January 2003.
Hundreds of ACT people felt that exact same disquiet of those suddenly dispossessed by the threat of bushfire; the feeling of numbness, concern and uncertainty.
Canberra emerged from the 2003 conflagration emotionally and physically scarred with four people dead and numerous others badly injured. Homes lost, precious pets unable to be rescued and irreplaceable heirlooms were lost forever.
In the inquest which followed a few years later, the Coroner Maria Doogan highlighted several contributing matters which, as Canberra marches into a long, hot dry summer after a prolonged period of drought, are well worth revisiting.
There are ominous parallels - the prolonged drought, the dryness of the landscape and high forest fuel loads being the three key underpinning issues - to the ACT's current situation.
Consider Coroner Doogan's prophetic words from 2006 inquest: "They [the Emergency Services Bureau, now the Emergency Services Agency] knew the severity of the conditions in 2003 - the worst drought on record - and they knew conditions were far worse for fire than the summer before."
"They knew fuel loads were very high and they knew how many fire trails in the Namadgi National Park were overgrown and not maintained.
"They knew how vital it was to respond rapidly to any fire that ignited in the bush."
For anyone who lived in Canberra during those perilous days of the firestorm will recall that it was a Brindabella farmer, Wayne West, who badgered rural firefighters to "get in there and do something about it [the then-modest McIntyre's Hut fire, in the Baldy Range]; don't look at it from 50 kilometres away".
It was that same small fire, which is understood to have originated from a lightning strike on a dead gum tree then left to smoulder and burn, which is regarded as a key source of the Canberra wildfire.
At the conclusion of the lengthy litigation process in which Mr West tried to sue the NSW government for negligence (and failed), ACT Chief Justice Terry Higgins found that the decision not to mount a direct attack on the McIntyre's Hut fire source was "unreasonable".
This, and other incorrect decisions made at the time, were based on the best evidence available.
Weather and landscape conditions which, after the ratings changed in 2009, would now be rated as "catastrophic", fed that small fire and turned it into a very large and fast-travelling one which swept into the ACT's pine plantations. The Canberra community then paid the price.
The ability of experts, at that time, to predict what could happen with that fire within a window of nine days was sadly lacking.
But as former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope told the ACT Assembly under questioning some time later, not even the experts "expected or anticipated that the fire would burn Canberra".
The ACT's emergency services agency, 16 years on, is a much better resourced and equipped organisation with a huge range of professional and volunteer resources.
But again, the clear finding of the Coroner was that resources are not always the solution.
It is intelligence-gathering and interpretation that's just as important; detecting small problem fires early before they escalate.
"It was not a question of being short of resources; it was a question of not appreciating the need to deploy those resources in the first 24 to 48 hours and the consequences of not controlling the fires quickly, given the extreme drought and the dire weather forecast," Coroner Doogan said.
Sound judgement is critical in such situations and for that the ACT community depends very heavily on its senior fire officers.
Joe Murphy was appointed the ACT's rural fire chief back in June, 2016. He's not from the rural ranks but has had more than three decades of experience in emergency services, including 21 years in urban Fire and Rescue, including as a senior firefighter on the front line.
The game changer in decision-making for emergency services now is the amount of information and data-gathering available.
Spatial information, line-scanning aircraft, CSIRO Sentinel infra-red satellite imagery and hotspot-tracking helicopters are all part of the tech available to the ACT.
Firebird 100, introduced last summer, is a helicopter which observes a fire from high above at a safe distance and takes live images, which can be live-streamed to firefighters on the ground and/or back to ESA headquarters.
Having a real-time view of a fast-changing situation is an issue that all emergency services, police and the military included, have had difficulty in grappling with for many years.
It's a harsh reality that all key decisions are made a long way from the front line and those sitting back in the air-conditioning don't always have a complete picture.
The ACT's Police Operations Centre at Belconnen, for instance, is only "stood up" in large-scale emergencies and for significant events, such as presidential visits or major protests. Up until several years ago, the only optical feed into the Belconnen centre was provided either from media coverage or the federal police helicopter, which was regularly deployed elsewhere.
That's changed now, and the emergence of low cost drones with high resolution cameras means there's always "eyes in the sky".
The Emergency Services Agency is no different, combining proven techniques with its new technology.
Fixed, elevated fire towers might be seen as "old school" in these days of aerial smoke sniffers but are hugely effective when well-trained fire-spotting officers are watching and sharing information.
The ACT's four fire towers are located at One Tree Hill in the north, Kowen Forest in the east, Mount Tennent in the south and at Coree in the west.
Controlled burning, practised by Australia's indigenous people for thousands of years, is also a science which is better understood.
However, the emerging danger now is one that didn't exist all those years ago: the changing dynamic within our landscape as a result of climate change. It's an issue all our fire experts agree on.
As former NSW Fire and Rescue boss Greg Mullins summed up this week, climate change "makes the drought much worse, and we see these mega fires that we just can't put out."