After the devastation: hope.
Life is returning to the Namadgi National Park even as endless acres of it remain a forest of blackened charcoal.
The Canberra Times accompanied senior managers as they inspected the moonscape before the road-blocks are lifted and the public allowed in.
"You can't help but walk through this landscape and not see and feel some sense of loss," the park's manager, Brett McNamara said as he surveyed the destruction.
"You would not be human to be able to walk in this and think of what was once here. We've lost a lot but at the same time, those hopes are there."
To drive through the closed off park now is to pass miles and miles of charred trunks of trees.
But also to witness rebirth. Look down at the scorched mud and you see scurrying, industrious ants. Kangaroos abound.
An echidna scuttles across the road, a survivor of fire and drought but oblivious to the dangers of cars and the people who will one day be allowed back in.
The park remains closed to the public because so much of it is still deemed dangerous.
Work is being done to make it safe. "We've selectively removed dangerous trees so that they don't impact people," said Ian Walker who is in charge of the ACT government's environment section.
He won't give a time for re-opening - weeks, he says, perhaps longer. The ACT government has a "rapid risk assessment team" considering the matter.
Despite the life in the park, the green shoots of recovery aren't quite visible yet.
In nature's wonderful way, buds are protected underneath the bark of a burning tee and these buds normally sprout after fire and renew the growth of the burnt tree which harboured it.
In Namadgi, these green shoots haven't quite appeared but the experts who guided The Canberra Times through the devastation said they were on their way.
"The Australian landscape has adapted to fire, so we will see new growth emerging quickly," Mr Walker said.
The mountains are resilient and we are as well. We'll get there.Brett McNamara, Manager, Namadgi National Park
He and his colleagues are planning how to make sure the new growth doesn't eventually stifle rare species.
"We will also undertake weed control to reduce the impact of weeds," he said.
For some of the managers of the park, it was an emotional inspection.
Brett McNamara remembered the 2003 fire which destroyed his house, so the 2020 one was a second dose of trauma.
"Initially, I think we've just got to come to grips with what we are experiencing here today," he said as he clutched a burnt branch.
"Eighty per cent of the park has been impacted by fire and there are these areas that really speak of the ferocity, the intensity of what roared through here.
"I can remember trying to come through this road late one afternoon. Power lines were down and trees alight. I can remember this when it was burning.
"It was just hell."
But then his optimism springs out: "We will see the green shoots of recovery. We will see these leaves and these trees coming alive again. We'll start to hear the bird life coming back.
"The mountains are resilient and we are as well. We'll get there."