Vehicles destroyed as fires fuelled by strong winds break out around Canterbury

Fires are breaking out around Canterbury on Tuesday fuelled by high winds and hot temperatures.

Crews have rushed to around six scenes - including a blaze just west of Lyttelton.

Principal Rural Fire Officer Bruce Janes says winds have been gusting up to 130km/h throughout the day and are expected to last until Wednesday morning.

"Since the gusts got up earlier today, crews across the region have been chasing fires and attended multiple callouts right across the region."

Fire and Emergency says it is currently battling two fires -  one at Cass Bay and the other at Loburn.

Three helicopters have been called to help battle the blaze at Cass Bay. An image supplied to Newshub shows a large cloud of smoke drifting across the water.

As a precaution 20 properties were evacuated along the Corsair Bay flank of the fire. Residents of those properties will be allowed back at about 5pm this evening.

A photo shows the smoke drifting across the water.
A photo shows the smoke drifting across the water. Photo credit: Sue Currie / Supplied

And three cars have been burnt in Northcote following a hedge fire.

An image from the scene shows a firefighter hosing down the scorched bark at a children's playground with the three burned-out vehicles in the background.

Janes asks anyone with a fire permit to hold off until the strong winds ease, and to make sure any recent fires are completely out.

"With winds as strong as what we are experiencing, hot ashes can easily get picked up, potentially starting a new fire," he says in his statement.

"We want to reduce the risks as much as possible, that's why it is very important to check previous burns."

Fire and Emergency is also encouraging Cantabrians to think twice about using braziers, gas cookers or carrying out farming activities that could cause an ignition.

"While the winds are up and the fire dangers are high, it is more likely these activities could start a fire," Janes says.