Three large North Canterbury fires under control, to be investigated

Three large vegetation fires in North Canterbury remain under control after causing several residents to evacuate and destroying two houses. 

Temperatures in Canterbury reached sweltering highs above 30 degrees over the past couple of days causing fires to spark in northern parts of the regions. The hot temperatures coupled with strong winds created a perfect storm for fires. 

On Friday, dozens of residents evacuated their homes after multiple fires broke out in Loburn Whiterock Rd, about 30km southwest of Amberley. 

Properties were also evacuated in Amberley's Racecourse Rd due to another fire in the area. 

Then, on Saturday a quickly spreading vegetation fire ignited in Swannanoa. 

Fire and Emergency (FENZ) said on Sunday all three fires remain "contained and controlled", with two in the mop-up stage. 

The causes of all three fires are under investigation. 

FENZ said a helicopter has been put on standby for immediate response in North Canterbury if required today. 


FENZ said six fire crews are working to suppress the vegetation fire burning over an estimated 12 hectares in and around the Waimakariri riverbed near Christchurch. They are supported by two heavy diggers. 

The fire which started on Saturday is contained and under control. 

"Cordons will stay in place until the fire is out, and we ask that people stay well away from the area so our firefighters can focus on their task," FENZ said. 

Fire crews respond to the Swannanoa fire.
Fire crews respond to the Swannanoa fire. Photo credit: Newshub.


Firefighters are in the final mop-up stage at the fireground on Loburn Whiterock Road, Loburn in North Canterbury, FENZ said. 

Three crews are working in the area on Sunday hunting down and extinguishing hotspots. 

The Loburn fires started on Friday afternoon and burned through approximately ten hectares destroying two houses, a converted church, ten sheds and a number of cars and machinery. 


Overnight crews at the vegetation fire on Racecourse Road in Amberley extinguished a number of hotspots, FENZ said. 

On Sunday, five crews, assisted by one digger and tankers are back on the fireground to continue this work. 

The Amberley fire started on Friday afternoon and burnt an area roughly one kilometre by 500 metres, forcing nearby residents to evacuate their homes. 

FENZ is urging Canterbury residents to take extreme care with all activities that could cause a spark that will set vegetation on fire. All fire permits have been suspended until 8am Monday. 

Every household in a rural area should have an evacuation plan in case of wildfire because in the current conditions, fires move quickly and are very challenging to put out, FENZ added.