Fire crews are battling a large and growing scrub fire near the Canterbury village of Swannanoa, northwest of Christchurch
A Fenz spokesperson said fire crews and four helicopters are responding to a vegetation fire reported in the bed of the Waimakariri River at Diversion Rd.
“The fire was reported at 2.50pm, on the north side of the river bed, and is spreading quickly.”
Assistant Commander Brian Keown said tankers and fire trucks were responding from local brigades including Kaiapoi, Swannanoa, West Melton, Pine Beach and Spencerville.
“Some resources have been released from the Amberley fireground to support the response to Swannanoa.”
One witness who had been swimming in the Waimakariri River with his dog told the Herald firefighters cordoned off and evacuated the area.
“Helicopters were going for it and a fire 4×4 just came onto the riverbed as I was leaving due to strong wind”
There are Facebook comments on community pages as far away as Linwood, Parklands and Sumner, about the smell of smoke from the haze wafting right across the city.
The Canterbury region has baked under hot conditions as temperatures peaked at 32C this afternoon.
Today’s fire came after two vegetation fires plagued the north Canterbury region yesterday.
Two homes and a church were destroyed and 50 properties were evacuated as fires broke out yesterday afternoon in Loburn near Rangiora, and near the town of Amberley.