Canberra Airport shut down as bushfires intensify

The airport in Australia’s capital city, Canberra, has been shut down as bushfires threaten the region.

Flights were cancelled out of Canberra Airport, a 20 minute drive from the city centre, as blazes raged nearby.

A heatwave sweeping the nation’s south-east caused existing blazes to flare up again on Thursday, officials said.

Meanwhile there are reports a firefighting aircraft may have crashed in the Snowy Mountains, two hours south of the capital.

The New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service said it had lost contact with the large air tanker shortly after 13:30 local time (02:30 GMT) on Thursday. Helicopters are searching the area and emergency services have rushed to the scene.

There are more than 80 blazes raging across the state of NSW as hot and windy conditions return to the region.

In Canberra, officials issued emergency warnings urging people to stay away from the airport as two blazes threatened to breach the airfield’s perimeters.

Authorities said the blazes threatening Canberra Airport had escalated after first appearing on Wednesday.

The capital, located in an administrative region between Sydney and Melbourne, has had large fires raging on its outskirts for weeks.

The city suffered the worst air quality in the world for several days earlier this year because of bushfire smoke.


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