Canberra's inner suburbs face the highest bushfire risks in the capital due to large inner-city reserves, new research has found.
The report from University of Wollongong's senior research fellow Owen Price mapped the locations of the territory's biggest fuel loads and predicted the likelihood of future bushfires reaching Canberra households.
It used data from 700 previous fires around Sydney, applying that data to the ACT and the Balkham Hills in NSW.
"What it highlighted was that there was a whole bunch of bushland areas, sort of within the [Canberra] city boundary that have got a high potential for causing bushfire problems," Dr Price said.
But the study found dense housing and high forest cover meant the middle of Canberra faced the "highest overall risk".
Dr Price pointed to Black Mountain and Mount Majura reserves as two examples why.
"It's not quite like other cities," Dr Price said.
"Reserves in other cities are not natural forests, they're highly modified."
The fire risks at spots where the suburbs met the forests was even higher than in rural areas, according to the research.
The study found the probability of fire reaching assets - like houses - was highest in forested sections, which were mostly in Canberra's southern, western and eastern fringes.
Canberra's southern suburbs faced lower risks than the inner city and other fringes because they were surrounded by grasslands with low forest cover.
"There's one caveat and that is, as everybody knows, the worst fire that ever happened here started from a very long way, away," Dr Price said, referring to the deadly 2003 Canberra bushfire.
"You've got to prepare for those kinds of events as well."
Dr Price said his research, co-authored with colleague Michael Bedward and commissioned by ACT Parks, would help authorities manage fuel loads and direct resources.
He said previously authorities might have used simulations based off old data on mild fires, or used first-hand knowledge.
"If you take an area like the ACT, everyone's got an opinion on where the high risk areas are," Dr Price said.
Dr Price used census and ACT parks data to assess risks, factoring in the density of houses, which way they faced, how much forest there was nearby and the last time nearby fuel sources were treated.
Using historical data from previous bushfires, including their ignition points and weather conditions, Dr Price calculated the risks facing Canberra's suburbs.
This provided what Dr Price called "objective" data on suburbs facing higher bushfire risks.
Dr Price said the research wasn't perfect but could be 98 per cent accurate.
The study used models for the Sydney region that did not adapt well to the ACT. For example, the study said the model didn't count grasslands as burnable - which was incorrect - and called for ACT specific models.