The State of Alert has been reinstated for the entirety of the ACT, with bushfires burning in the south at Namadgi National Park and to the south-east in Beard and Pialligo.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr reinstated the State of Alert on Thursday 23 January, after the Beard fire reached emergency warning levels on the same day. Minister Barr confirmed the State of Alert was still in place on Tuesday 28 January, and would remain in place for the time being, while providing an update on the Orroral Valley fire burning in the Namadgi National Park, which at the time was at emergency level.
“The Territory-wide State of Alert will remain in place for the coming days,” he said. “Canberrans can continue to stay up to date on the latest information from the ESA website, through ESA social media channels and through the local media in the days ahead.
“We know the next few days are going to be uncomfortable, with extreme heat [and] smoke haze from the fire continuing to impact across the Territory. Canberrans can help by looking after one another, particularly the vulnerable and elderly people in our community.”
Emergency Services Agency (ESA) Commissioner Georgeina Whelan said conditions were likely to worsen in the coming days and into the weekend, which could make firefighting efforts a challenge.
“We in the ACT are now experiencing what our colleagues in NSW and Victoria have been experiencing for many weeks and months: completely dry weather out there in the community, no rain and an extensive amount of dry fuel loads,” she said.
“I must advise you that this weekend (1-2 February) we expect the weather to take on more severe conditions and continue to challenge the firefighting efforts to contain [the Orroral Valley] fire. This fire may extend into several weeks.
“Consequently, there is a Total Fire Ban in place, and it will remain in place until at least midnight on Friday 31 January.”
She urged people to be prepared and download their bushfire survival plans: “think about what your actions will be when warnings are issued and we give you a call to action message”.