Canberra has sizzled through a high of 40 degrees Celsius — the hottest day of the summer so far.
Overnight, Canberrans avoided what was expected to be a hot evening, after temperatures fell to 15C by dawn, five degrees cooler than the expected minimum.
However the pleasant morning quickly gave way to a sweltering day, with the Bureau of Meteorology’s Canberra Airport station recording 30.2C by 9:30am.
The mercury surpassed the predicted ACT high of 39C, reaching 40C at 2:47pm.
However the capital was spared the extremes hitting Sydney, where the city endured its highest temperature on record.
Joe Murphy from the ACT Rural Fire Service said authorities would be on high alert.
“The fire risk for today will be that same as yesterday … which is very high, which means that if we do get a fire get underway it is made more difficult to control,” he said.
Despite the hot dry weekend, with temperatures reaching 36.9C on Saturday, Mr Murphy said recent rain had prevented the fire risk from being pushed even higher.
“If we hadn’t had that rain previously we would have been on a total fire ban today,” he said.
“We look south down to Victoria and South Australia, they’ve been getting very hot weather, it’s very dry down there.
“This is an indication of what’s coming our way as summer progresses.”
The extreme heat is not only worrying firefighters, Summernats organiser Andy Lopez urged attendees to be especially sun-smart, in order to ensure rubber was the only thing burning on the car festival’s final day.
“The heat for [Sunday] is not a concern per se, it’s just something we have to keep on top of,” he said.
“Look after yourselves … this is a big open site with lots of sun.
“The main thing to do is keep hydrated, look after yourselves, look after you mates.”