The Hospital Hill fire in a remote area of the Namadgi National Park is now under control after ACT firefighters surrounded it and managed to contain the spread of the blaze.
The small blaze, less than one hectare in size, is 34km away from the nearest Canberra residential suburb, and does not pose a threat to any homes, Emergency Services Agency (ESA) Commissioner Georgeina Whelan said.
This is currently the only fire in the ACT.
“This fire is the remote southern area of the Namadgi National Park, close to Boboyan Road, and we believe it was started by a lightning strike,” Commissioner Whelan said.
“It is a small fire that is controllable under our current weather conditions.
“This fire was identified by a specialist intelligence-gathering helicopter (SIG). We have ACT firefighters and heavy plant on the ground at the Hospital Hill fire working to extinguish the fire and build containment lines.”
Heavy plant equipment refers to machinery including bulldozers, excavators, and tractors.
Currently, there are 6km of containment lines that have already been built in the ACT, while the ESA says they will continue to work closely with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) to build more lines outside of the Territory’s borders.
Two strike teams are inside the ACT addressing the fire activity at Hospital Hill, which has also been water-bombed, Commissioner Whelan said.
“We have further strike teams identified for evening shifts, and we will monitor and remain vigilant on the fire inside our borders for the next 72-hours,” she said.
“I am not saying it will take 72-hours to extinguish the fire, but we will remain on-site to ensure that not only is the fire extinguished, but that we do not have any fallout as a consequence of that.
“Our medium helicopter has already undertaken water-bombing operations and will continue to do so throughout the day while the specialist intelligence-gathering helicopter will continue to monitor the situation as it is our eye in the sky.”
Update – Hospital Hill, Namadgi National Park Our eyes in the sky, the Specialist Intelligence Gathering (SIG) helicopter, has been monitoring the fire near Hospital Hill, Namadgi National Park today. The SIG has captured our crews on the ground working to extinguish the fire and build containment lines. The medium helicopter has also undertaken waterbombing operations. The glowing patches seen in the infrared footage are small active fires. The yellow patches indicate heat.There is currently no threat to homes in the ACT from this fire activity.
Posted by ACT Emergency Services Agency on Sunday, 5 January 2020
The SIG will also continue to monitor the Dunns Road fire and the Adaminaby fires just south of the ACT border, in NSW.
Two strike teams have also been deployed to NSW for the next 24-hours to help support crews at the Adaminaby fires, while a Liaison Control Officer has been sent to the Tumut fire control centre, providing up-to-date information on NSW’s response to the Dunns Road fire.
Commissioner Whelan says that the ESA is coordinating extensively with the NSW RFS to identify which resources we can allocate to support their firefighting activities. Additionally, the ACT is involved in conducting fireground preparation by identifying containment lines and control lines that can be put in place with NSW.
This preparation aims to slow down the spread of the bushfire and create environments where firefighters can tackle the blaze on grounds of their own choosing.
“We are aware than the Australian Defence Force are out on the Dunns Road fire and are developing containment lines for that fire activity,” Commissioner Whelan said.
“At the moment I am planning for Friday to be a total fire ban based on the information we are receiving, but this has been such an unusual season that we do not hold our breath [on weather modelling].
“We ask our community to remain up-to-date by accessing the ESA incident maps, this is the single point of truth for emergency information in the ACT.
“Additional information is available on our website, and on our social media platforms.”
The ESA has also warned residents not to head towards an evacuation centre unless they are directed by a warning, which will clearly articulate which centre is most appropriate for them.