Multiple blazes burn in Canterbury as extreme conditions stretch fire crews

Fire crews in Canterbury are stretched on Monday morning as they battle at least three blazes in the region.

Two large vegetation fires are being fought by land and air in tinder-dry North Canterbury, both near the Ashley River.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) says extremely hot and windy weather is making conditions difficult.

A strong wind watch is in place for the Canterbury High Country, with temperatures already in the mid-20s by 9am Monday.

Speaking near the scene of the Ashley River Fire, FENZ Rangiora chief fire officer Hamish Peter says it's a challenging situation.

Unpredictable northwest winds are causing concern about the blaze spreading and people are being asked to avoid the area. 

Multiple blazes burn in Canterbury as extreme conditions stretch fire crews
Photo credit: Newshub/Holly Carran

"We're fully stretched with resources as we have a secondary fire to the east of Rangiora," Peter told Newshub.

However, he said he's confident they will be able to contain the fires.

"It's going to be the mopping up to ensure it doesn't reignite is going to be the challenge."

A third fire is also burning further north - a 14-hectare blaze in the Tekoa Range in Hurunui.

"We have multiple crews in attendance," FENZ Canterbury said on Facebook. "The wind is very strong in the area."

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