State of emergency declared for Canberra region

James Marshall
January 31, 2020

A state of emergency has been declared for the Australian Capital Territory as a large bushfire burning south of Canberra continues to spread.

The threat is posed by a blaze on Canberra's southern fringe that has razed more than 53,000 acres since it was sparked by heat from a military helicopter landing light on Monday, the region's Emergency Services Agency says.

"The ACT is now facing the worst bushfire threat since the devastating fires of 2003", he said on Friday.

A small aircraft dumps fire retardant behind houses at the foot of Mount Tennant as the fire front of the Orroral Valley fire creeps through the Namadgi National Park on January 30, 2020 in Canberra, Australia.

It is the first fire emergency for the Australian Capital Territory area since 2003 when wildfires killed four people and destroyed nearly 500 homes in a single day.

The fire danger is forecast to escalate across the southeast in the Australian Capital Territory and the states of New South Wales and Victoria as summer temperatures rise over the weekend.

"The Orroral fire has now grown to 18,500 hectares, that's 185 square kilometres or almost 8 per cent of the total land mass of the Australian Capital Territory".

It is the worst fire threat to the territory in almost two decades, officials said. "It may become uncontrollable", Mr Barr said in a televised briefing.

"The combination of extreme heat, wind and a dry landscape will place suburbs at Canberra's south at risk in coming days", he said.

Similar weather conditions were being recorded on Friday, authorities said.

Fire fighters will also be facing hard conditions with the temperature expected to hit 40 degrees in parts of NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

Unprecedented fires across southern Australia have claimed at least 33 lives since September, destroyed more than 3,000 homes and razed more than 26.2 million acres.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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