IT seems like a lifetime ago, but none of us will ever forget the bushfire disaster that engulfed eastern Australia last summer.
In fact, the the bushfire season lasted much longer than the three months of summer, starting before summer and continuing after, and this time last year there were already fires burning across the state.
It's estimated the fires last season burned through 18.6 million hectares across the country, destroyed almost 6000 buildings and killed at least 34 people.
It was frightening and sobering to endure a bushfire season like not other, fuelled by dry conditions, high winds and record heat.
Already it appears this summer won't be as bad and that's certainly something to celebrate, but we've already been warned there will be no room for complacency.
Good rains across the winter and spring months have dampened the ground but also increased fuel loads and that still poses a danger.
Twice already in the past week local Rural Fire Service crews have been called to grass fires on the outskirts of town that have been sparked by machinery - first by a lawnmower and next a slasher.
In both instances the flames were quickly brought under control and there was no loss of life or property, but those fires serve as a timely warning.
Now is the time for all of us to seriously think about what could be coming this summer and there's plenty to be done around houses and properties.
It's important to have your bush fire survival plan made and discussed so we all know what to do on days of increased fire danger and we can immediately put our plan into action if homes are threatened.
For further information on how residents can protect their property or to download a bush fire survival plan, visit the NSW RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.
Alternatively, you can call 1800 679 737.
Even over the weekend, tomorrow or today, spend the time to prepare your property.
Now is the time to head outside and clean your gutters, remove all of your overhanging branches and remove any debris around your property.
The time to be prepared is now.
We need to be ready this summer and hope above all hope that Australia is spared the devastation which has ripped through many other parts of the state in the past couple of years. Plan ahead.