NZ wildfire razes 11 homes, as firefighters battle inferno


A wildfire has destroyed at least 11 homes and forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 people in New Zealand's Christchurch city, authorities said on Thursday.

"I don't think my brain is playing tricks on me".

Smoke and ash were being blown across Christchurch.

Flames leap out of a large pine plantation behind Westmorland along Worsleys Spur, Port Hills. "Every window you look out of. you can just see the pall of the smoke".

A house is saved in Worsleys Spur. "That's all I've got really".

Local media reported that the fires are expected to continue for another 48 to 72 hours with fire-fighting services concerned the fire may become too volatile to contain.

"We're really struggling at the moment without the helicopters it's too unsafe at night for those, we are trying to do any structure protection we can but that's got to be balanced between lives", Selwyn Principal Rural Fire Office Douglas Marshall said.

Cordons still remain in place around unsafe areas on Friday and residents will be updated as soon as possible, Christchurch Civil Defence says. "Police and the Defence Force have had a huge job overnight with evacuations, the setting-up of cordons around key areas and security patrols of areas that have been evacuated", Christchurch Civil Defense Controller David Adamson said as quoted by ABC broadcaster.

"We have had significant fire breaks created with heavy machinery and the firefighting effort has targeted the perimeter". Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said changing winds had made the fire unpredictable.

Firefighter on the Port Hills trying to put out hot spot.

The fire began on Monday, along Early Valley Road In Lansdowne, with a second blaze on Marley's Hill in a vehicle park off Summit Road.

By nightfall, fire crews were battling a second blaze on Marley's Hill, south of the city. Authorities don't know how that blaze began, but believe it started in a auto park.

However, they said that there were nothing to suggest a drone was involved in the fatal helicopter crash.

"We wouldn't have lost Phil and Katie's house, we wouldn't have lost the Gordon's house".