To enable the fire services to respond quickly to any fires that may start, a fire detection system has been in place in the ACT for many years using fire towers.
Initially it was aimed at the forested areas of the ACT, but its emphasis has changed to also cover the bushland/urban interface areas. Towers are on Mt Tennent, south of Tharwa, Mt Coree, west of the city in the Uriarra area and Kowen in the east.
With the extension of Canberra urban areas to the north in Gungahlin, there was perceived a lack of adequate early detection in this area.
After analysing Canberra's needs and performing impact assessments, One Tree Hill, behind the village of Hall, was found to be the optimum site for the tower.
This tower is the only one which is primarily situated to detect fires at the rural/urban interface area. It provides an excellent view of the northern parts of Canberra, especially the new areas in Gungahlin, and much of the central and inner south of Canberra. In addition, it will give a clear view of areas to the north west of the ACT, where the ACT may be vulnerable to any larger fires approaching.
The tower is viewed as a primary tower in the fire detection system of the ACT.