Risk of tragedy rises with the temperature

WHILE we sweltered here at Dubbo and across the region during the weekend, it's a little difficult to imagine how difficult it must be for the residents of Dunnolly in southern Tasmania.

As we went to work yesterday the news of the day was indicating there may have been up to 100 people missing in that conflagration - such a tragedy if that were the case. Later in the day almost all were accounted for and to date no deaths have been recorded. Such a blessing.

The memory of the fires in Victoria is still fresh in our minds even though they occurred on February 7, 2009.

In that fire there were 173 deaths recorded; 120 of them caused by a single firestorm. Those fires destroyed more than 2030 houses and more than 3500 structures and damaged thousands more.

Time and time again the relevant fire authorities have extended warnings about the risk an out-of-control fire offers. We can only sincerely hope their words will not fall on deaf ears.

YESTERDAY new regulations to ban smoking in a number of public places came into effect.

One of the places where smoking is now banned are public transport stops like taxi ranks. Certainly it is obvious some of Dubbo's cab operators use down time while waiting for a fare at the rank across the road from the Daily Liberal's office, to step out of their vehicles for a cigarette break and have a chat with other operators.

An obvious question is who is going to police these new laws?

Will the smokers among the city's cab operators have to, say, cross to the other side of Macquarie Street to indulge in their addiction? And what will be the response by those who smoke to someone enforcing the new laws?

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