Three people were killed after a light aircraft crashed in remote northern Australia Saturday while helping in the battle against bushfires, emergency services said. The plane went down near the outback town of McKinlay, more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) northwest of Queensland’s state capital Brisbane. It was being used for fire mapping, authorities said, as more than a dozen fires continue to burn across the state. “Terribly sad that three brave souls working to help their fellow Australians have lost their lives in Queensland,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese posted on X, formerly Twitter. “A tragic reminder of the dangers those on the front line of bushfires face.” The cause of the crash is unknown and will be investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Australia is facing its most intense bushfire season since 2019-2020, when a series of out-of-control infernos raged across the eastern seaboard — razing swathes of forest, killing millions of animals, and blanketing cities in noxious smoke.