5PM UPDATE: THE BEARD FIRE HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED ONE LEVEL FROM “EMERGENCY” TO “WATCH AND ACT”. IT HAS BURNED 424 HECTARES SO FAR.
THE Kallaroo Fire and the Pialligo Redwood Forest Fire have merged. The ESA is now calling it the Beard Fire. It is out of control.
The agency says people in Beard, Harman, Oaks Estate, Crestwood, Pialligo and Brindabella Business Park should follow warnings and information for the Beard Fire.
The Beard Fire is rated as an “emergency” and people in Oaks Estate, Beard, Harman, Crestwood should seek immediate shelter. The ESA says it is now too late to leave.
Canberra airport has been closed to any flights in or out.
“The fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path. People in these suburbs are in danger and need to seek immediate shelter as the fire approaches,” says the ESA.
“People in Pialligo and Brindabella Business Park should stay up to date and monitor conditions. Stay in their location.”
The ESA says the fire is travelling in a south easterly direction towards Beard, Harman, Oaks Estate and Crestwood (Queanbeyan).
Firefighters are on scene. However, under current conditions, the fire is difficult to control.
People in the area may be affected by thick smoke and embers, which will reduce visibility and air quality.