A total fire ban has been declared for the ACT from midnight.
It means that all fires out in the open are banned by law. Activities which might cause a fire (like open-air welding) are also banned.
The edict comes as temperatures are forecast to reach 38 on Thursday, much higher than the average for November.
On top of that, there has been little recent rain and the ACT Rural Fire Service urging people to prepare their Bushfire Survival Plans and know the triggers that they have set to enact their plan.
The ACT Emergency Service put the fire danger rating as "severe" for Thursday and the forecast is "very high" for Friday and Saturday. Temperatures are expected to drop towards the end of the weekend.
The ACT Emergency Services said:
"During a total fire ban, it is an offence for a person to:
- Light, maintain or use a fire in the open air;
- Use fireworks in the open air;
- Undertake a high risk activity. These are activities which may cause fire to ignite, and include welding, grinding, soldering and gas cutting; and
- Use of slashers and harvesting machinery in rural areas."
Public electric barbecues would be available but gas barbecues would be turned off.
Some roads and nature reserves will be closed:
- Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (the Visitor Centre will remain open)
- Selected roads within Namadgi National Park including Corin Road, Old Mill Road, Warks Road and the Mount Franklin Road at Piccadilly Circus (the Namadgi Visitor Centre will remain open)
- Googong Foreshores
- Kowen Forest
- Lower Molonglo River Corridor
- Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve
- Mulligans Flat Sanctuary including Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve
- Centenary Trail between Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve and Hall
The Boboyan Road and Brindabella Road were to remain open to through traffic.
Swimming areas at the Cotter and along the Murrumbidgee River such as Kambah Pool, Pine Island, Point Hut and Uriarra Crossing will also remain open.
The ACT RFS's acting chief fire officer, Rohan Scott, said, "Let other people know what your plan is and what you're planning on doing if a fire were to start."
"Communicate with your family, friends and neighbours. Share your plan with them."
He said that now was the time to start if you haven't already done so to cleaning out gutters, making sure you have hoses which stretch around the house and cutting back vegetation which might catch fire.
Canberra has started on a heatwave which should last until the weekend, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Temperatures reached 31 degrees in the ACT on Wednesday.
Meteorologist Rosemary Barr said Canberra was seeing "some very significant warm temperatures" as high pressure in the atmosphere sucked in hot air from central Australia.
She said the temperatures on Thursday would reach more than 15 degrees above the usual for November.
It counts as a "low intensity heatwave" - one that's hot but where most people can cope with the level of heat. It is not an emergency.
Let other people know what your plan is and what you're doing. Communicate with your family, friends and neighbours. Share your plan with them.Rohan Scott, Acting Chief Officer, ACT RFS
The Bureau's longer term climate model forecasts a hot summer.
Scientists do not blame particular weather events like one particular heatwave on global warming.
"At this stage we aren't able to attribute this specific heatwave to longer term climate patterns. That's something we would need dedicated research to do," Ms Barr said.
"However, our climatologists are able to say that increases in temperature are observed across Australia in all seasons with both day and night-time temperatures showing warming.
"The shift to a warmer climate in Australia is accompanied by more extreme daily heat events."