The Canterbury fire spanning at least 80 hectares is expected to get worse before it gets better Monday morning due to strong winds.
Incident Controller Graham Knight told Morning Report firefighters were not able to contain the Kirwee fire Sunday night which broke out near the Waimakariri River.
Knight says the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Residents were woken by the smell of smoke overnight and FENZ is advising locals keep windows and doors closed to minimise exposure.
A community meeting is scheduled for 11am Monday morning in the Kirwee Community Hall for those evacuated on Old West Coast Road.
Reporter Niva Chittock spoke to Ingrid Hipkiss.