(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Authorities in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have declared a state of emergency as massive bushfires rage south of Canberra.
It is the worst fire threat to the territory in nearly two decades, officials said.
The main blaze, in the territory’s south, is burning over more than 18,500 hectares.
Residents in suburbs of Canberra have been urged to “remain alert” for potential evacuations.
“The ACT is now facing the worst bushfire threat since the devastating fires of 2003,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr told reporters on Friday.
“There’s now no higher priority for the ACT government at this time than the bushfire threat.”
The small territory, located between Sydney and Melbourne, has about 400,000 residents.
In 2003, bushfires in the suburbs of Canberra killed four people, injured another 500 and destroyed or damaged 470 homes.
Similar weather conditions were being recorded on Friday, authorities said.