Until last summer’s Black Saturday (the worst bushfire in Australia’s history), I’d always stayed close to home on days of high fire risk. Now I like to be as far away from the bush as possible. Rather than stay to defend our property on dangerous days, we’ve boosted our house and contents insurance.

When a “code red” or “catastrophic” fire warning was recently issued to parts of Victoria, I knew Lila and I would be heading to the haven of a city office. The temperature was tipped to hit 43°C and drop only slightly at sunset, resulting in Melbourne’s hottest night on record. By the time I’d packed our things (and please do not underestimate how many toys, treats and other comforts a pampered pup requires!), I wanted to weep. There’s something profoundly disturbing about not feeling safe in your home. Disturbing and disorienting.