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Capital to fry but should dodge dangerous winds

Date

Stephanie Anderson

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The capital faces a lower fire threat than many parts of Australia this weekend, but authorities are warning Canberrans to look after themselves and each other as the temperature rises.

A severe heatwave is affecting most of the country, with temperatures in many areas expected to exceed 40 degrees. Canberra reached a top of almost 37 degrees on Friday and the mercury is expected to rise to 39 degrees on Saturday.

But the capital should remain shielded from the hot winds causing havoc to the south-west, according to the ACT Rural Fire Service's chief officer, Andrew Stark.

"We're not really getting the extreme weather they have down in [South Australia and Victoria]," he said.

"We're expecting some pretty warm weather over the weekend, but not with the associated strong winds that would increase our fire danger category."

Members of the service will continue watching the forecasts throughout the weekend in case changes in the capital bring strong winds.

Mr Stark said grass fires posed a greater risk for Canberra than bushfires, as the soil in the forested parts of the Brindabella Ranges was still relatively moist as a result of rainfall over the past three years.

"We've had abundant grass growth over the past few years, and over November and December all that grass has dried out," he said.

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