Terrifying new aerial footage shows the devastation a massive fire has had on a small village in Canterbury.
Fires fuelled by strong winds have been reported near Lake Ohau, Domett and Livingstone on Sunday.
A major forest fire ripping through the Mackenzie Basin resulted in the evacuation of Lake Ohau Village, with several homes destroyed by the flames. Responders were called to the blaze shortly after 3am on Sunday.
Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher shared aerial footage to Facebook showing the destruction of the Lake Ohau Village fire, saying it was "absolutely heartbreaking" to see.
The video shows streets of houses destroyed by the fire, with smoke still smouldering in some areas.
Kircher also shared photos of a lakeside home left decimated by the blaze. He said the loss of property in the village is believed to be "significant", although there have been no reports of any injuries.
Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) said the Lake Ohau Village fire was about 200 hectares in size as of 11:30am on Sunday. Strong winds were also making it difficult to fight the blaze.
"There are now five helicopters in the air assisting with firefighting efforts and one more on the way," it said on Facebook.
Speaking to RNZ, Lake Ohau local David Stone said the small village now resembles a warzone.
The community had about 50 houses, he said, many of which are believed to have burnt down - including his own.
"We're semi-permanent residents here - near me is a couple who've lived here 27 years and their place two along from us, I think it's gone too," he told RNZ.
"There's been extraordinarily strong winds here - Ohau means place of wind, and it's certainly lived up to it."
FENZ is urging anyone who has lit an outdoor fire recently to check it is completely out so the high winds don't reignite it.
"Please help us. Don't light any outdoor fires or carry out any activities that may cause a spark, until the winds die down."