5 Feb 2024

Firefighters battle huge blaze in Canterbury

From Morning Report, 6:10 am on 5 February 2024

Firefighters in Canterbury have spent the night battling a huge forest fire which broke out near the small town of Kirwee.

Police evacuated houses on Old West Coast Road, and Selwyn District Council opened an evacuation centre in the Kirwee Community Hall.

The blaze, located near the Waimakariri River, is estimated by FENZ to be 2.5 kilometres long and 500 metres wide.

FENZ says high winds caused the fire to spread quickly, with crews from four brigades working in challenging conditions.

Dozens of social media users across Christchurch have reported waking to a strong smell of smoke Sunday night.

FENZ is telling residents to keep their doors and windows closed to minimise exposure.

Incident controller Graham Knight spoke to Ingrid Hipkiss.