The ACT's surveillance helicopter was on Thursday set to inspect the range of deep bush between Canberra and the big fires to the west.
The ACT Emergency Services Agency hired a Firebird 100 aircraft in December to scan for over-heated ground that presented a heightened danger of fire, and the aircraft is now being deployed to the west.
With maximum temperatures forecast to be in the high 30s to low 40s on Friday, communities throughout the region were preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
To the south, people in Bombala were setting up pumps and trying to deal with smoke from three fires.
At a public meeting there, RFS Captain Warren Kimber warned that temperatures would rise to 40 degrees on Saturday. He couldn't guarantee that resources would be available to protect every property as conditions worsened.
"Friday is another bad day," said Andrew Dillon of the RFS. "It looks like it won't be as bad as last Saturday. But there will certainly be strong north-westerly winds, high temperatures and low humidity which will once again place a lot of pressure on existing fires."
"I know Canberra is suffering," resident Peter Williamson told The Canberra Times, "but we are living it here, too. Three days ago it was the blackness of night at three o'clock in the afternoon."
To the west, ski resorts were closed but in Perisher, live cameras showed snow guns normally used for pumping out frozen water as snow, were instead pumping out water to drench fire fuel.
The Thredbo Blues Festival is scheduled for January 17 and that must be in doubt with the park closed.
"Due to the uncertain situation with continued active bushfires in the surrounding Kosciuszko National Park, we are unable to make a decision as yet. We are working closely with the authorities and will be making a decision by this Monday, January 13," the organisers said.
"Please understand that the fire situation is rapidly changing making it difficult to predict when we will be able to reopen the resort."
The helicopter deployment follows concerns from people near the Dunns Road fire that the conditions that saw fatal bushfires in western suburbs of Canberra in 2003 may recur.
In a short video statement on Facebook, the ACT's ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan said, "This morning I'm getting up on the Firebird 100 to get out and fly across the fire ground and get an eyes on what's actually happening on the ground and bring that information back into our headquarters and have a look at what the next steps will be for us in the ACT."
Centres were also being set up where Canberrans could get advice on how to draw up bushfire plans.They are open from 9am to 5pm at the following places:
- Belconnen Westfield
- Westfield Woden
- Southpoint Tuggeranong
- Cooleman Court
- Casey Market Town
- Lanyon Marketplace
"On the worst bushfire day, our firefighters can't protect every home. We need you to be prepared too," the agency said.
Canberrans were being advised that the bushfires burning through the Snowy Mountains south-west of the ACT might impact the territory.
The giant Dunns Road blaze, which is burning through Kosciuszko National Park, the Adaminaby Complex fire, north of Adaminaby, and the small Atkinsons fire were being monitored closely, according to the ACT ESA.
A statement said, "Our Incident Management Team, helicopters and crews on the ground remain vigilant and on high alert.
"Together, we have the ability to predict fire behaviour and map lightning strikes after they occur. This allows us to remain alert, not alarmed.
"It also enables us to inform you at the earliest stage of fire activity in Canberra and surrounding NSW that may impact the ACT.
"We are prepared to respond to each and every incident that may occur. We are also doing everything we can to support NSW Rural Fire Service with the fires burning close to the ACT border."
There was concern among members of the Brindabella Valley community to the west of Canberra about a recurrence of the conditions that caused the 2003 bushfires which swept into the ACT.
"We are anticipating that the fire will be here on Friday or Saturday and we are preparing for the worst," Paul Szymik, president of the local fire brigade, said.