Wildfires threaten villages near the Australian capital Canberra

Communities south of the Australian capital Canberra have been told to take shelter from two dangerous wildfires.

There was an immediate threat to lives and property around the villages of Bredbo, Colinton and Michelago, according to New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

The villages lie between 45 and 75 kilometres from Canberra.

Helicopters and fixed-wing aeroplanes are bombarding the flames with water and throwing fire retardants in an attempt to stop the spread of fires.

There are currently five emergency-level forest fires in New South Wales, amid scorching temperatures.