There's been a marked change in most parts of the Eastern side of Oz since 1778 it seems in the density of undergrowth in dry sclerophyll forest, partly down to the lack of low scale burn off on a regular occasion, partly to reduced fauna grazing and even bug life in more recent years. Even parts I traversed 30 years back are now so overgrown you'd need a machete to hack your way through.
Fire starts easily in the dry years anyway, and once going, if there's a lot of undergrowth and heavy dead fall, stays longer and burns hotter.
It seems no accident that each time the quest seems to be to find some unfortunates to take the heat instead of working backwards and accepting that decades of monomentak mismanagement, from the displacement of the traditional managers, to the slaughter of the wildlife and then the widespread poisoning of land to kill bugs which eat crops for example, or even the defoliant DDT back in 70s! Has perhaps led quite directly to the tinderbox that eastern forests have become.
Age is a piece of the puzzle (longer and more intense oscillations in the el nino/a), but we'd do slot better if we stopped blaming individuals at the bottom of the societal rank and started taking the blame up the chain a bit.
We've laid a campfire, with birds nest, sticks and heavy wood, drenched it in fuel, and now complain when a hobo finds it and strikes a spark.
Now that in many places the worst has happened I hope that those areas will at least be maintained and managed properly!