As I write this there are fires burning inside my Watch Zone (a 40-kilometre radius) to my north and to my south. The fire pump and hoses will arrive next week and we'll hunt up some protective clothing in the meantime. But I haven't bothered to pack the car. I'm just sitting here, surrounded by the things I thought I'd lost during the last fire - in 2018.
I'd have given just about anything back then to save my home, and more particularly, the things in it that I treasure. But something's changed. For the 20 months after the fire that took 69 homes and another 100 buildings in my town of Tathra and surrounds, I've been talking about climate change, constantly, because it took a fire at my own door to understand how immediate the threat is, and how quickly we must act. And now I'm so tired, from the stress, from being told to shut up, that I'm not acting.
Because that's 625 days on which the LNP was not prepared to talk to me, or anyone else, about climate change.
Not about the risk it poses, not about our contribution to it, not about how we might limit our emissions, not about how to prepare our urban, regional and rural communities, or our state forests and national parks, for the fire season. Not about funding emergency services fully, paying firefighters, resourcing local governments, reinstating national parks employees, or funding and supporting initiatives to develop Indigenous traditional burning practices.
Indeed, people like me, who sought to raise the issue of the climate emergency starting to bite communities such as Tathra, have recently been savaged for our impertinence.
Ministers and MPs, all from the right, queued up to slander us as "bloody disgraceful" (NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro) and "raving inner-city lunatics" (Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack). And, true to form, Barnaby Joyce contributed a blazingly bonkers statement that invoked the political leanings of two people who died in the fires in NSW.
That's why I stood in solidarity with Melinda Plesman and Dean Kennedy on Monday in front of Parliament House. They'd brought the charred ruins of their beloved, hand-built family home - some scorched ornaments, melted glass and metal - and piled it all on the footpath. They lost their home in Nymboida, south of Grafton, on November 9, but found the energy and the courage to pack up the remnants and come to Canberra with a message for the Prime Minister: we've lost everything because you value coal more than you value communities and people like us. Thoughts and prayers are not enough - we need urgent action from our state and federal leaders on reducing greenhouse emissions.
After standing for hours in the wind and cold, repeating their message to journalists, and being moved on by police, they packed up the remains, swept up the charcoal and returned through the smoke-choked atmosphere of Sydney to the motel room that is now their home.
So now I sit here wondering exactly when I should pack, given the fire season is likely to continue as a rolling series of alerts and warnings, and smoke haze drifts from as far afield as Queensland and South Australia. Because every day feels like the day my house will burn down. Every day I check for fire alerts on my phone 10 times. Every day I listen for sirens in between radio news of towns alight, homes gone, animals screaming in pain, and people dying. People dying. Quiet Australians.
And where would I go with my car full of treasures? Not central, northern or western NSW, crippled by drought. Not Queensland, South Australia or Western Australia, all currently ablaze. Not the Northern Territory, where it's now too hot to live without airconditioning. Not Sydney, which has been choking on smoke for weeks now. Certainly not Tassie, where the forests are not fire-adapted at all. Not even Europe, where all temperature records were broken this summer, week after week.
Eventually, on a blue sky day, with gusting winds and soaring temperatures, climate change catches up with you. At home, at the office, on the train, in the supermarket, or where our PM has been recently, at the Gabba in Brisbane, hanging out with some cricketers.
He said the cricketers might help the people who've lost everything in the fires by playing cricket to cheer them up. Perhaps #PutOutYourBats or #TheyAreOnFire might make some amusing hashtags for his evening tweets.
If he was also talking to Greg Mullins and his team of former emergency services leaders about all those things I listed above, I'd feel better. But he isn't. Because if you can't say the two words "climate" and "emergency", you can't have those conversations.
Indeed, over my shoulder on the radio, the PM is telling us we must not link individual fires to climate change. Which would make sense if there was only one individual fire. But there are hundreds of fires today, and the trends are stark, with more record-breaking temperatures, hectares burned and extended fire seasons on their way.
There are thousands of emergency services people who are too busy saving lives to even think about cricket. And there are tens of thousands of Australians standing in the heat and smoke today, wishing they could have a word with the PM. And if the savage tone of the Twitter response is anything to go by, a good number of them are also holding cricket bats.
Smoke is building outside and my phone is only getting intermittent signal, so I can't check what those pesky local fires are up to now. I think I'll stop my "jabbering" and go and collect up the most precious things and stack them by the door. With the cricket bat.
For bushfire survivors, it seems Canberra is a place our stories will be heard, but only once it's too late.
- Jo Dodds is a bushfire survivor from Tathra, NSW, the president of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, and a councillor with Bega Valley Shire Council.