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Canterbury rifle range fire contained

Wednesday 23 Jan 2013 1:23 p.m.

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A fire at an army rifle range west of Christchurch which injured one person and resulted in several properties being evacuated has been contained.

About 60 firefighters and 40 police staff were called to fight the blaze, which started today at the army's rifle range in West Melton, on the Old West Coast Road about 20km west of Christchurch.

The Defence Force said the staff member injured in the fire was receiving medical attention but was not critically injured.

A Canterbury police spokesman said the fire had been contained by 4pm on the north side of the Old West Coast Rd.

Along with the 100 fire and police staff involved, six helicopters and 18 ground-based appliances were needed to fight the fire, which covered an area about 1km by 500m.

The Aero Club and an IHC residential property have been evacuated, along with several nearby houses, but there were no reports of damage to houses or buildings.

Emergency services are continuing work to control the blaze and are monitoring wind conditions.

The Old West Coast Rd remains blocked and diversions are expected to remain in place for some time.

A no-fly zone was in place, while fuel tanks have been removed from the aerodrome as a precaution.

The Fire Service said it was too early to determine what caused the fire.

The fire was close to the scene of a 9ha scrub fire which briefly threatened an aviation base on Saturday.


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