Dozens of firefighters battle large fire in north Canterbury, up to 40 hectares affected

A large fire is burning 30 minutes north of Christchurch on Thursday morning, covering 30 to 40 hectares of land.  

At least 60 firefighters are working to put out the blaze in Hurunui, and heavy machinery is being brought in to assist. 

Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) said three houses have self-evacuated due to the fire.

At least 60 firefighters are at the scene of a large fire ripping through 40 hectares of land.
At least 60 firefighters are at the scene of a large fire ripping through 40 hectares of land. Photo credit: Newshub

"Fire and Emergency was alerted to a hedge fire in the Masons Flat area of the Hurunui District at around 12:50am this morning," a spokesperson said.  

Upon arrival, attending crews then called for back-up firefighters.  

"Around 60 firefighters and personnel from brigades across North Canterbury are currently in attendance - with more than 15 fire trucks and tankers on site."  

One property near the scene of the fire.
One property near the scene of the fire. Photo credit: Newshub

Crews have been protecting structures in the area but it is unclear if any property has been damaged. 

"The fire is now contained and one household has returned home this morning but the other two are waiting until fire-damaged trees have been felled."

The remains active but contained, with one FENZ spokesperson telling Newshub they are "fairly happy" with the state of the fire ground. 

FENZ is reminding those in rural areas of Canterbury to "stay vigilant" as the region is "still at risk from wildfires".

Response Coordinator Brian Keown said in most of rural Canterbury the underlying fire danger remains high, and the amount of rain currently forecast for coastal areas may not change that.

“It’s not unusual for us to be dealing with flooding in one part of our region and fires in another," he explained.

"It’s understandable that people might see the rain warnings and think that the wildfire risk has finished, but what happened in Hurunui overnight is a clear reminder that the threat remains for now," Keown stressed.

Banks Peninsula, Christchurch and most of the high country are still in a prohibited fire season and the Canterbury Plains north of the Rakaia River is in a restricted season.