The following is a poem that I wrote in 2020 to try and illustrate the epic battles Australian firefighters take on every year during bushfire season. — AP

Staring the devil down straight in the eye

Unflinching as embers and smoke whistle by

The roar of the beast is the cry of the damned

The blaze is a feast on a bone-dry, parched land

The battle is fierce and the fighters are weary

But still they combat with their smoke-stung eyes bleary

The lick of a tongue makes the treetops explode

A convoy of trucks makes its way down the road

They’re racing the flames and the engines do strain

Oh, what they would give for just one decent rain

They cut the fire off and drench the surrounds

Hoping the fire won’t cross the wet ground

The fire arrives but the fighters are ready

They hold the line fast and their stances are steady

A holler rings out and the hoses all hiss

The inferno recoils from the water’s cool kiss

When the flames are contained then the fighters may rest

So they may fight again when they’re all at their best

Their faces are dry and black from the heat

The fighters, exhausted, take the weight off their feet