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The airport in Australia’s capital city here was shut on Thursday as a heatwave swept through the nation’s south-east causing existing blazes to flare up, officials said.

Flights were cancelled out of Canberra Airport as fires raged nearby. Officials issued emergency warnings urging people to stay away from the airport as two blazes threatened to breach the airfield’s perimeters.

There were reports of a firefighting aircraft crash in the Snowy Mountains, two hours south of the capital, the BBC reported.

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

“We’ve got thousands of kilometres of the fire perimeter,” NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

“All of the fires that we’ve still got, whether they’re under control or are still being worked on, are going to be tested today,” Fitzsimmons added.

The New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service said it had lost contact with the large air tanker shortly after 1.30 p.m. Helicopters were 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.

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