Orroral Valley Fire Impact Report

On 27 January 2020, the Orroral Valley fire swept through Namadgi burning about 80% of Namadgi National Park (82,700 hectares) and 22% of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (1,444 hectares) and 3350 hectares of rural lands.

Following the fires the ACT Government, deployed a Rapid Risk Assessment Team (RRAT) to assess risk immediately post fire.

The findings from the study will help shape the ACT’s steps on a journey to recovery in Namadgi and Tidbinbilla identifying key priority areas which will guide our efforts in the months and years to come.

The team identified 27 risks, broadly centre around:

  • direct impacts on cultural heritage (rock art, archaeological sites, stone arrangements, heritage trees, huts)
  • risks to public safety (damage to roads, walking tracks, dangerous trees)
  • impacts on threatened ecological communities (alpine bogs)
  • threats to biodiversity (predation, feral herbivores, invasive species)
  • risks to biodiversity (water quality for aquatic species, large gliders, threatened flora and fauna, fire-sensitive communities, hollow-bearing trees, aquatic and riparian habitat)
  • impacts on water quality (sediments and nutrients in water catchments)
  • hillslope erosion, and
  • damage to assets, including those owned by rural landowners (fencing and visitor infrastructure).

Read the full Rapid Risk Assessment Team report and Overview for more information.


Parks and Conservation staff assessing glider habitat in NamadgiParks and Conservation staff assessing macropod health in Namadgi
Parks and Conservation staff undertaking thermal scoping in NamadgiParks and Conservation staff undertaking thermal scoping in Namadgi

Video: Fly-through of Namadgi National Park showing the scale and severity of the Orroral Valley Bushfire in January-February 2020. Note the pink lines show where retardant has been used to contain the fire.

Next steps

The report will inform a ‘recovery plan’ to address the immediate and short-term impacts of the fire as well as a long-term ‘recovery program’.

The recovery program will look beyond the immediate fire impacted areas and consider broader ecosystem trends, and issues such as climate change and adaptation, continuing dry conditions and safeguarding Canberra’s water supply.

How can you help?

Restoring our bush capital will require help from the Canberra community, and we will identify opportunities where those who wish to help, can assist in these efforts as part of our recovery response. Register your interest at ParkCare hub.

How are we working with Traditional Custodians?

The ACT Government is working closely with Ngunnawal people and supporting them in the healing of Country and the conservation of cultural sites. Traditional Custodians have a deep connection to Country – it is part of them and they are part of it. The impacts of the fire have deeply affected them spiritually and emotionally. We are also engaging with Representative Aboriginal Organisations.

The ACT Government will also work closely with Traditional Custodians and the Ngunnawal people, scientists and researchers, industry, community organisations and volunteers on this journey to recovery.

When will bushfire impacted areas by opened?

We understand that many Canberrans are itching to get back out into Namadgi National Park, parts of Tidbinbilla nature researve and Bimberi Wilderness Area. Now that the fire has been extinguished, we are working to ensure that these areas are safe for public access by fixing key infrastructure and removing dangerous trees.

Besides these areas, all other ACT Parks and reserves are now open. To find out more, visit the Reopening parks and reserves page.