28 January 2020

ACT total fire ban imposed as conditions set to worsen throughout the week

| Dominic Giannini
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Total fire ban

The fire rating today is set at severe for the ACT. Image: File.

As the ACT anticipates a severe heatwave later in the week, a total fire ban has been imposed for the rest of January.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting extremely hot and dry conditions, and the forecast fire danger rating is set at severe. The ESA says that in these conditions, fires will move quickly and be difficult to control.

BOM forecaster Abrar Shabren told Region Media the ACT needs to brace for the severe heatwave, as temperatures will continue to increase, peaking over the weekend.

Temperatures are likely to hit the high 30’s and low 40’s from Thursday through to Saturday, with high overnight minimums. Winds forecast for Tuesday are fresh but still reasonably favourable.

“The heatwave is due to an inland trough which will gradually move to the east and weakens,” Mr Shabren said.

“We are looking today at conditions that will be quite hot, with some small haze in the morning but clearing, then forming again in the evening”.

“Today and tomorrow, for most of the morning we’ll see north to northeasterly winds. Those will change to northerly in the mid part of the day, then move to westerly”.

The coastal winds will bring smoke across the ACT this evening, and winds will become stronger tomorrow, easing off in the mid to late evening.

A total fire ban is declared by the ESA commissioner on days of elevated fire danger, increased fire activity or when forecast weather conditions are conducive to the spread of fire and may be imposed for part or all of the ACT. They respond to conditions when it would be extremely difficult to contain a fire, putting the community and property at significant risk.

A Total Fire Ban can also be declared as a preventative measure for reasons such as the number, nature or location of existing fires, severe forecast weather conditions over the coming days and heavily committed firefighting resources.

The ACT is also experiencing smoke across the region from the fires burning at Namadgi and the bushfires that continue to burn in neighbouring NSW.

The ESA website is regularly updated with information on any closures or restrictions. You can also call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 for further information. You can also subscribe to receive an email from ESA when a Total Fire Ban is declared.

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