1st of October to 31st of March
Assessing risks during the fire season
A number of people have sought guidance on managing safety in recent conditions. Scouts ACT Policy gives responsibility for determining if an activity ought to be approved to the Group Leader or Commissioner responsible. Venturer Units should make this easy for them by considering the risks prior to asking approval.
The ACT Venturer Team recommends that you consider three fire season related elements of risk:
A State of Emergency
The ACT Branch and ACT Venturers hold Personal Locator Beacons & Radios that may be borrowed where that is an appropriate risk mitigation strategy.
If you want some advice on how your activity might be affected, you can contact the ACT Venturer Team. Email our group inbox at:
or call one of the Venturer Team. Their numbers are listed at the bottom of this webpage.
Where you are planning or doing an Adventurous Activity, your AA Guide must also be consulted. AA Guides may be sourced here:
Personal Locator Beacons
The ACT Venturer Team recommends that the risks associated with any activity be reassessed when:
fires exist in the area in which your activity is taking place; or
the fire rating is Severe, Extreme or Catastrophic, particularly in windy conditions.
It may be appropriate to move or modify your activity. Consideration should be given to the location of any fires in the area, the fire risk rating, your ability to remain informed of changes to the location and risk ratings and finally your ability to communicate that information and/or evacuate participants.
If you have doubts, speak to your Group Leader, or a member of the Venturer Team.
Status of Fires
Status and advice on fires can be found at these websites. It is advisable to install the Fires Near Me application on your phone.
The ACT Emergency Services Twitter feed carries up to date and official information. The feed is available at the bottom of this page.
The ACT Venturer Team recommends that you follow ACT Health advice provided on the ACT Health website.
There has been considerable smoke in Canberra during the 2019/20 Summer. Where (smoke concentration) fine particles PM2.5 concentration exceeds a 40 ug/m3, ACT Health advise not to spend much time outdoors, and not to do any strenuous activities/exercise. Current concentration levels and health advice can be found on the ACT Health website.
A State of Emergency
The ACT Venturer team recommends that all activities that are planned to take place during a State of Emergency are reconsidered.
In the ACT and NSW, legislation exists that enables the government to declare a state of emergency, across the State or Territory or in a specified area. A State of Emergency is a Legal Instrument and may only be declared when an emergency exists and it is anticipated that these powers will need to be used.
In both the ACT and NSW, the legislation provides the government, through an emergency controller, with the authority to compel the public to move, leave, and even abandon their vehicles. The controller can close roads, seize property, and shut down utilities such as power and water. The controller can direct that buildings be knocked down and direct other government agencies as required.
During a State of Emergency you should consider that emergency services, hospitals and other essential services may already be exhausting their available resources and may not be in a position to support your activity should it be required.
In the ACT, a "State of Alert" may also be declared which acknowledge the present risks, commits the Government to providing a daily update, but does not provide additional powers.
Status of State of Emergency
You can see the status of any declared state of emergency here:
You can see the legislation here:
The ACT Venturer Team recommends that you familiarise yourself with rules in relation to fires during the fire season.
The Fire Season in the ACT is now longer, commencing on the 1st of October and concluding on the 31st of March. During the fire season you can use gas and electric stoves/barbecues and may only light a fire in an ACT Government provided fireplace. You will be required to apply for a permit for any other fires including solid fuel barbecues. During a Total Fire Ban, fire permits are cancelled and you cannot use gas stoves and barbecues except in specific circumstances. The rules in the ACT and NSW are different.
The new program includes requirements for young people to light and use cooking fires, so you may need to program that in cooler months, or apply for a fire permit.
Camping and hiking
Both the ACT and NSW have closed parks and campsites for extended periods during the 2019/20 Fire Season. It is important that you do not conduct activities in areas that have been closed.
The ACT Venturer Team recommends that you contact authorities in the area where your activity will take place to ensure that they are aware of your activity.