In the remote savanna lowlands of Central Arnhem Land, Australia, Everlyn Mardi and Venicia Murray are on their lunch break. They are sitting in the shade beside a spring where a crocodile hides under its surface, Everlyn in a camping chair and Venicia cross-legged on the ground beside her. The women are wearing their dark blue work shirts with a red-and-yellow logo featuring a karrkkanj, a firebird, at the centre.
Today, Everlyn and Venicia are at Barrapunta, or Emu Springs, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) by road from Darwin and 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the nearest regional town of Katherine. It’s the end of the wet season in Australia’s Top End and the land is drier than usual. Though the humid day holds the promise of a storm, it’s been another short wet season this year—meaning big wildfires might lie ahead for the dry season again.