The threat level for an out-of-control bushfire burning on Canberra’s eastern fringe has been downgraded after earlier being elevated to an emergency warning.

A watch and act remains in place for the fire burning in the Pialligo Redwood Forest, with people in the suburbs of Beard and Oaks Estate in the ACT and West Queanbeyan in NSW told to remain vigilant.

People are being asked to avoid the area and not enter or return.

“The fire is out of control and firefighters are on scene. Under current weather conditions, the fire may become difficult to control,” the ACT’s Emergency Services Agency said.

“People in the area may be affected by smoke, which could reduce visibility and air quality.”

The fire is near Canberra Airport but hasn’t affected flights, despite a thick plume of smoke billowing into the sky.

Pialligo Avenue is closed from Scherger Drive to Oaks Estate Road.

The Queanbeyan Railway Line has been closed. Railway Road at Oaks Estate and Railway Street at Norse Road is closed.