Patrick Carr, 4, top, and brother Lincon, 3, from Isabella Plains float about in the Murrumbidgee River. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
- Grassfire near Yarralumla Creek
- Fire bans in place
- Water consumption hits a high
- Animals keeping cool ... with bloodsicles
- TAMS ask for help watering plants
- Bushfire risk as locals become complacent
- A nationwide heatwave
Canberra has sweltered through another day of high temperatures, with the mercury tipping 40.2 degrees in the afternoon.
At 3.25pm, it passed the forecast maximum of 40 degrees - reaching a top of 40.2 degrees.
Joel Patton from Woden swinging out into the Murrumbidgee River. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Tuesday's maximum was not reached until much later in the day, when it hit 37.3 degrees at 4.30pm.
And there's more heat on the way in the coming days. Thursday and Friday are forecast to reach 39 degrees, followed by 38 degrees on Saturday.
Sunday should bring some cooler relief with a top of 30 degrees.
For those sweating through the warm afternoon, it's much worse for some Canberrans who have been hit by power outages across the Territory.
There were several planned outages across the ACT this week, and ActewAGL's Rob Atkin said they would go ahead despite the heat.
Firefighters extinguished a grassfire on Lady Denman Drive near Yarralumla Creek on Wednesday.
The fire, measuring about 100 metres by 50 metres, was reported to authorities about noon.
Five units will remain on the scene throughout the afternoon to patrol the burned area.
Another, smaller, fire was reported at Geijera Place, Kingston about 2.15pm.
ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner Dominic Lane has declared a total fire ban for territory for Thursday.
"The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting hot and sunny conditions tomorrow with lights winds freshening through the day and a predicted temperature of 39 degrees," he said.
"The forecast fire danger rating for tomorrow is predicted to be severe."
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (except the visitor centre), some roads within Namadgi National Park including Apollo Road, Orroral Road, Old Mill Road, Warks Road, Mount Franklin Road at Piccadilly Circus, and the Corin Dam Road (but not the Namadgi visitor centre) will be closed.
So, too, will Googong Foreshores, Kowen Forest, Lower Molonglo River Corridor, the section of Centenary Trail from Hall to Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary and Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary. Boboyan Road and Brindabella Road will remain open to through traffic.
Territory and Municipal Services said swimming areas at the Cotter and along the Murrumbidgee River such as Kambah Pool, Pine Island, Point Hut and Uriarra Crossing would remain open.
"The Canberra Nature Park and all pine forest areas (other than Kowen Forest) will remain open to the public during the early morning hours, however, users are advised that they should leave these areas no later than 11 am," it said.
"Electric barbeques provided at the Cotter, Casuarina Sands, Pine Island, the National Arboretum Canberra and in Canberra’s urban parks will be available, however all gas barbeques will be turned off."
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service have also implemented a fire ban in parks across the state.
Bans have been introduced for Kosciuszko and Brindabella national parks, and the Brindabella Conservation Area.
Seventeen national parks and reserves on the South Coast also have fire bans in place.
The ban prohibits all campfires and solid fuel barbecues and stoves.
Visitor-owned gas and electric barbecues are permitted as long as they are under the control of an adult, the ground within two metres of the barbecue is cleared of all flammable material, and there's an adequate supply of water.
The bans will remain in place until further notice.
For more information, head to the NSW National Parks website.
On Tuesday night, Canberrans recorded the highest water consumption in seven years.
More than 250 megalitres was used across the territory. The last time the community recorded this level of consumption was in spring 2006.
The Emergency Services Authority issued a warning on Wednesday for Canberrans to keep hydrated through the hot conditions.
Residents are being advised to keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks that can increase dehydration, wear light, loose clothing to keep cool, and wear and sunscreen if headed outdoors.
About midday, ACT Ambulance said it had not experienced any increase in workload as a result of the heat.
Animals at the National Zoo and Aquarium will be trying to beat the heat, with zookeepers coming up with some novel ways to cool down animals.
It's not just about turning on the sprinklers, or keeping the animals in the shade – they'll also be sucking on some bloodsicles.
That's right, blood-flavoured icicles.
With the mercury hovering in the high-30s all week, zookeepers will be using the icicles, large water baths, hoses and cage irrigation to keep their furry residents cool.
Warnings have also been issued for pet owners to ensure they're kept cool with access to shade and water.
TAMS has put the call out for residents to help with watering some struggling plants, as the dry hot weather settles in over Canberra.
About 700,000 urban trees are planted across the ACT, and it's the younger ones at risk in the high temperatures.
TAMS said about 21,000 young plants were watered regularly, but asked locals to pitch in with a bucket of water if they spotted some struggling trees.
Workers hit the road
As we sit in out air-conditioned offices, spare a thought for those working outdoors – particularly those laying bitumen on our roads.
Workers are handling bitumen at about 160 degrees – and on days like today, it can feel a lot hotter.
And then there's the traffic controllers standing in direct sunlight for hours on end.
As the nation's west comes to terms with a horrific bushfire that claimed one life and destroyed dozens of homes, Canberrans, and their close neighbours across the border, are being told to keep their eyes peeled for any signs of bushfire.
It comes almost exactly one year since fires tore through thousands of hectares across the ACT region, killing more than 10,000 sheep and cattle.
Fred Nichols from the Cooma Rural Fire Service said people haven't prepared enough for bushfires.
He said: "All we're asking is for people to remove the fuel load from around houses."
It's not just Canberrans battling through the hot days - much of the nation is sweltering through the week.
Melbourne and Victoria are baking, reaching its forecast maximum of 41 degrees by 2pm.
In fact, Canberrans have it a bit easier than their Victorian friends, who sweated through an overnight low of 28.6 degrees.
Back in the ACT, it dropped to 14.7 degrees at 6.30am.