How bad are the SHB down there? I assume you know what you're doing. I lost most of our hives to SHB when the beetles arrived, and when I was learning.
I have read people on natural beekeeping forums and blogs talk about spraying the bees with sugar-water instead of using smoke. I've not tried it, but I have sometimes deliberately dripped nectar from a frame all over the top bars, to calm the bees. They come up and clean it up and it distracts them. Sugar-water in a spray bottle might be worth a try in a total fire ban