A bushfire burning west of Canberra grew to 113 hectares overnight Thursday, and is just 8 kilometres from the nearest suburb.
A watch and act warning has been issued for the fire, which started from a car fire on Laurel Camp Road at Pierces Creek at 5.45pm on Thursday.
More than 25 appliances battled the out of control bushfire at Paddy's River overnight and aircraft were expected to take to the skies and dump water on the blaze on Friday morning.
The Emergency Services Agency has warned embers may be blown ahead of the fire, which could cause spot fires up to two kilometres ahead of the fire.
Residents in the Tuggeranong valley are being urged to monitor the situation.
"The fire is burning erratically and is heading in a south easterly direction," an Emergency Services Agency spokesperson said.
"There is a chance people may die or be injured. Some homes and businesses may be damaged or destroyed."
The Emergency Services Agency is working with the Education Directorate to evacuate students from Miles Franklin Primary School who were on Thursday night camping at Birrigai Outdoor School.
The 150 year 3 and 4 students were expected to be brought out by bus at 9.30am Friday with the help from firefighters. The students are safe and will be back at their school by 10.30am.
Parents of the students are being contacted.
As the fire danger rating reaches very high, ACT Emergency Services Agency Commissioner Dominic Lane has declared a Total Fire Ban for the whole of the ACT from 9am until midnight.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a hot day with strong NW winds expected throughout the morning, with gusts up to 60km/h. The wind is inspected to intensify about 1pm.
ACT Fire and Rescue Commander Paul Flynn said the terrain had made gaining access to the fire difficult and that conditions overnight had been extraordinarily warm and dry, making fire-fighting harder.
"The fire has spread a lot quicker than what we would have liked it too," Mr Flynn said.
"At this stage, homes are not under threat but there are some houses near the tracking station that I wouldn’t call in threat at this point in time, however, we’re taking steps to give them early warnings to either leave or protect their property."
Mr Flynn said a number of aircraft were on the way to help extinguish the fire from above and NSW Fire and Rescue were on standby.
"We're all working together to do what we can do and make sure people of Canberra are as protected as we can make them," he said.
Although there is currently no threat to property, firefighters are urging people in the area to activate their emergency fire plan.
As a precautionary measure, the Mount Stromlo Observatory has been closed.
ACT Rural Fire Service, ACT Fire & Rescue, ACT Parks and Conservation Service are on the scene.
Paddy's River Road is closed between Cotter Road and Tidbinbilla Road. The Boboyan Road and Brindabella Road remain open to through traffic.
During the fire ban, a number of reseres and roads will be closed including: Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, selected roads within Namadgi National Park including Apollo Road, Orroral Road, Old Mill Road, Warks Road, Mount Franklin Road and the Corin Dam Road, Googong Foreshores, Kowen Forest, Lower Molonglo River Corridor, Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve, Mulligans Flat Woodlands Sanctuary and the Centenary Trail between Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve and Hall.
The Tidbinbilla and Namadgi Visitors Centres will remain open.
The bushfire follows a grass fire in the same area on September 1, which burnt three hectares and took two hours to extinguish.
Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.