To the people of northern Canberra dozens of kilometres from the Orroral Valley bushfire, sufficiently alarmed by strident warning messages to be packing "go bags" at their front doors, the Emergency Services Commissioner makes no apologies.
With memories of the 2003 fire tragedy still scorched deep in the psyche of thousands of ACT residents, Commissioner Georgeina Whelan says that her "forward-leaning" message stance on the recent 40-day bushfire which burned through 83 per cent of the Namadgi National Park, was deliberate.
"I think on several occasions I said to the community: 'I do not want to paralyse you with fear, I want to give you enough information to make an informed decision'," Ms Whelan said.
After a number of flyovers of the national park in recent days using infra-red "hot-spot" seeking cameras together with investigations by on-ground patrols, the agency now has formally declared the Orroral Valley fire as "out".
It marks the end of a long and at times, dramatic seasonal chapter for an agency which hadn't fought a bushfire of that size and ferocity, within its own borders, for 17 years. The closest the fire came to Canberra's suburban fringe was five kilometres.
As the fire burned deep in the bush south of ACT, crowds gathered at vantage points south of the city, watching the columns of smoke streaming into the sky and the red glow in the hills at night.
Public uncertainty swirled with the hot wind, fed by tragic stories from the NSW South Coast where previous fierce bushfires had taken lives and burned houses.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that one of the "absolute, clear lessons" from 2003 was that "people wanted to know early [about any approaching bushfire] . . . and with as much advance warning as possible".
"I don't think there was anything we provided that would fall into the category of 'alarmist'," Mr Barr said.
"Would I prefer to err on the side of early warning and forward leaning or being late and not giving people enough notice [to evacuate], I am going to choose forward leaning and early advice every single time.
"And if there's one, resonating point that came out of 2003, was that the warnings came too late [and] the state of emergency was effectively declared when the fire was almost effectively in the suburbs.
"We were not going to repeat that."
The Orroral Valley fire burned more than 80,000 hectares of land, more than a third of the ACT and through 83 per cent of the Namadgi National Park.
It had started on January 27 by a landing light on a defence helicopter in the Namadgi National Park.
The blaze saw the ACT enter a state of emergency for the first time since 2003, and led to multiple spot fires over the border into NSW, which sparked the Clear Range and Calabash fires.
Those fires saw multiple properties lost in the Bumbalong Valley and threatened homes in Bredbo and Michelago.