Bushfire season will start one month earlier than usual in the ACT as the risk of major fires intensifies.
On Tuesday, ACT Emergency Services Agency commissioner Dominic Lane will declare that the bushfire season is to start on September 1.
Mr Lane's move comes as the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts a 50-50 chance of an El Nino event - which would increase the risk of extreme weather events including wildfires, heatwaves and dust storms - forming in 2018.
The bureau's El Nino forecast warns that most climate models now suggest El Nino thresholds could be met by mid- to late spring.
The potential effects of such an event also include reduced rainfall, a shift in temperature extremes, an increased risk of frost and decreased alpine snow depths.
Unseasonal bushfires have already had a devastating impact in nearby NSW as the drought takes its toll.
A blaze that started near Bemboka last week has destroyed three homes and continues to burn out of control over more than 5500 hectares.
Mr Lane has taken heed, and used the large blaze just a few hours over the border as an example of why the ACT needed to act earlier than the usual October 1 start to the season.
During bushfire season, which will run until March 31 unless conditions warrant an extension, rural landowners and managers must obtain a permit from the ACT Rural Fire Service before conducting hazard reduction burns.
"It's been extremely dry in south-east Australia, and that includes here in the ACT, and because it's so dry it can easily bring forward the risk of bushfires," Mr Lane said.
"... As we get into September, particularly towards the end of September, that becomes more of a risk."
Mr Lane said he had been in discussions with the ACT Bushfire Council about bringing the bushfire season forward since the start of August.
He was spurred on to act by the current trend towards an El Nino and an extremely dry start to the year, with the only significant rainfall in the ACT coming when 84 millimetres fell across two days in late January.
The conditions have hit farmers hard, leading the ACT government to announce transport subsidies last week to help with the cost of transporting fodder, water and stock as the drought takes its toll.
Mr Lane urged all ACT residents to visit the Emergency Services Agency website ahead of September 1 to find out the level of bushfire risk in their area, learn what each of the fire danger ratings mean, and develop a bushfire survival plan.
He said the fire danger rating would be updated every day from September 1, with the level of danger displayed on the agency website and on electronic signs on all major arterial roads in the territory.
- More information on bushfire season is available at esa.act.gov.au.