Canberra is bracing for high temperatures and strong winds on Saturday, with authorities warning the city to be prepared in case a bushfire threatens the territory.
While there were no fires burning in the ACT on Friday, the Emergency Services Agency has declared a "state of alert" due to conditions expected similar to those that fanned the flames along the South Coast on New Year's Eve.
A total fire ban has been declared for Friday and Saturday and Saturday's fire danger has been increased to extreme.
Any threat to the ACT would come from new fires, with those burning in NSW not posing an immediate risk.
A fire burning south-west of Canberra near Batlow was burning at Watch and Act level on Thursday, leading to an evacuation order being made for the whole Kosciuszko National Park by the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman said the decision to enact a state of alert in the ACT as "precaution to ensure that we can alert Canberrans about the risk that's occurring for the ACT into this near future."
"We see Saturday as a severe fire rating day. Winds will change. It will be incredibly hot on the day. And we don't see any rain before Saturday evening to ease conditions across the ACT."
"So it's an important statement to make to urge Canberrans to be prepared, to ensure that you download your bushfire plan from the ESA website, talk to your family about whether you might need to evacuate at some point, and take some action in regard to that."
The South Coast is also preparing for a horror day, with a State of Emergency called to allow for forced evacuations between Batemans Bay and Wonboyn.
Cloaked in a thick haze of smoke again on Thursday, the capital became a temporary home for many people evacuating from the South Coast, with the Monaro Highway clogged with cars escaping the fires in NSW.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr will return from his holiday a day early tomorrow ahead of Saturday.
Acting Chief Minister Yvette Berry said the government had initiated the increased emergency response in light of the forecast severe fire danger.
"These decisions have been made to ensure that those charged with keeping our community safe are empowered to keep on getting on with the job," she said.
She said conditions did not currently warrant a state of emergency but the government would monitor the situation.
Ms Berry said the ACT government was providing support for those impacted by the fires, including establishing driver reviver stops and ensuring supplies of P2 face masks for people who needed them.
A Relief Centre has also been set up at Dickson College for those escaping the fires.
Emergency Services Agency commissioner Georgeina Whelan has been appointed emergency controller for the ACT.
"We do here in the ESA train all throughout the year and at the moment we have now stepped up that capability to ensure we are prepared," she said.
"We want people to be alert not alarmed."
Commissioner Whelan said the incident management team had been re-established, as had the incident control centre in the lead up to Saturday.
Smoke has hampered the agency's aircraft capability including the ability to get the helicopter in the air, Commissioner Whelan said, but the agency was investigating other places it could take off from.
Measures including using drones to monitor conditions were being used. As well as cutting-edge technology, old fashioned methods of surveilling the areas around Canberra for fires.
"We are exhausting every scenario so that we're not relying on one plan," she said.
Senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology Ruth Barr said Canberra could expect the continuation of warm temperatures on Friday that would increase on Saturday.
A top of 42 degrees is forecast for Saturday.
"Temperatures are expected to reach the high 30s [on Friday] across the ACT and it is likely for us to continue to see smoky conditions especially in the morning hours."
Friday is expected to be a warm night with temperatures to get down to the high teens only early on Saturday morning.
"It's a very similar weather pattern to what we saw on New Year's Eve with a vigorous cold front crossing the state," Ms Barr said.
North-westerly winds would give way to a change that would impact Canberra as an easterly wind and the coast as a southerly wind.
"A southerly means it can be quite hard to predict how the fire will behave," Ms Barr said.
"This cold front with hot air ahead of it is our characteristic of a bad fire day you'll find."