Officials said it is the biggest fire hazard for the region in nearly two decades. The main blast south of the area, burning over 18,500 hectares. Residents of Canberra’s suburbs have been urged to “be vigilant” for possible evacuations.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr told reporters on Friday, “The ACT is facing the most frightening threat ever since the devastating fire of 2003.”
“There is no higher priority for the ACT government at this time, given the threat than it is.”
The small area, located between Sydney and Melbourne, has about 400,000 inhabitants.
In 2003, bushes killed four people in the suburban area of Canberra, injuring another 500 and destroying or damaging 470 homes.
Officials said similar weather conditions were also reported on Friday.
Mr Barr warned “the fire could be uncontrollable” as the temperature climbed to 40C and was filled with strong winds.
He said the worst explosion was in the south of Tungaranong district, a 20-minute drive south of the Parliament House in Canberra.
He added the state of emergency – which gives additional power and resources to fire officials – would be the place to “as long as Canberra is at risk”.
The fire continued near the city for weeks. Canberra’s airport was closed last Thursday after a blast threatened to breach its perimeter.
Three American firefighters died the same day after the plane crashed into a fire zone near the city in the icy mountainous region.
Earlier this week, photos of the bushes in the sky-red zone were widely shared on social media.
This prompted authorities to issue warnings against “disaster tourism”, following several reports of people driving near active fire zones to take photographs.
Mr. Barr said, “I want to reinforce the message for the disaster tourists that they are not welcoming.
Since September, bushes in Australia have killed at least 33 people and destroyed thousands of homes. Over 11 million hectares of land has been scorched.