A house and the surrounding gardens at a Christchurch lifestyle block have been destroyed in a suspicious fire early this morning.
The fire on Marshland Road was reported at 12.30am.
Fire and Emergency shift commander Andrew Norris said no one was at the property when the fire started, and firefighters' efforts were seriously hampered by difficult access.
Four fire trucks were sent to the blaze, but only one could get up the long narrow driveway, and once up the driveway, firefighters had difficulty reaching the house because of items stacked around it.
Mr Norris says there was no water at the property, so tankers had to travel 4km to bring water back, which then had to be pumped 80 metres up the driveway.
The fires in the surrounding trees are now out, and firefighters are waiting for a digger to demolish the rest of the building, so hot spots can be put out.
Meanwhile, further south, eight fire crews are working to put out a vegetation fire burning on the ridgeline of a hill north of Palmerston, which is visible for many kilometres surrounding it.
Fire and Emergency shift commander Andrew Norris said a caller reported the fire in Mclay Road at Dunback, yesterday - and rural fire crews have worked on it overnight.
The fire is believed to cover several hectares of scrub and grass right now, but does not threaten any structures.