Australia’s capital and its surroundings have declared a state of emergency because of an out-of-control forest fire burning erratically to its south.

It's the first fire emergency for the Canberra area since 2003 when wildfires killed four people and destroyed almost 500 homes in a single day.

The fire is sending out embers that have created spot fires nearby.

Residents of southern Canberra suburbs and surrounding villages have been advised to prepare to either protect their homes or evacuate.

Roads were blocked to one village because the fire posed too much danger for residents to evacuate or return to their homes.

Dozens of blazes are burning in Australia’s drought-stricken southeast, and the danger is expected to rise with summer heat this weekend.

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