Sparked by the landing of a defence helicopter in the Namadgi National Park, Wednesday marks 12 months since the Orroral Valley Fire began.

The blaze burnt through more than 86,000 hectares of land as it inched towards the southern suburbs of Tuggeranong, representing the worst bushfire threat faced by the Territory since the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

A multi-agency response was called in to help manage the blaze with members of ACT Parks and Policing called in as well as assistance from outside the Territory with the NSW Rural Fire Service, QLD Fire Service and Defence Force brought in.

The bushfire burnt out of control for 12 days before being contained and then eventually extinguished a month later on 27 February 2020.

One year on from the fire, the Government has used the date to reflect on last summer’s events.

Emergency Services Minister, Mick Gentleman offering his thanks to those involved in keeping the Capital safe.

“I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the level of resilience, determination and teamwork that the community, volunteers and emergency services personnel demonstrated to help keep people’s lives, property and the environment safe.”


ACT ESA Commissioner, Georgina Whelan said the Territory is better prepared now thanks to the lessons learnt last summer.

“We have taken proactive steps to make improvements such as the recruitment of specialist roles including Fire Behaviour Analysts, Air Operations, Strategic Planners and Fire Tower Operators, all of which will help fatigue management and boost the existing specialist skills within the Agency.”

This year the region has endured far cooler and calmer conditions but authorities are reminding locals of the ongoing threat a bushfire could present to the Territory, encouraging people to jump online and complete an emergency survival plan.