Please see below updates on the fires in Canterbury this afternoon.
The fires on Loburn Whiterock Road, near Loburn, have been contained. The fire is approximately 10 hectares in size.
Four helicopters remain in operation alongside 20 trucks. There are around 100 firefighters involved.
Evacuations have taken place and cordons remain in place. Evacuated residents are advised to go to the Rangiora Showgrounds.
A number of structures have been impacted. More structures still remain under threat and crews are working hard to protect them.
Nearby residents who may be affected by smoke should close windows and doors and reduce outdoor exercise. Residents are advised to call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if they have any concerns.
Heavy machinery has been brought in to support firefighters and two helicopters, which are working to put out the fire at Amberley.
Cordons remain in place and people are asked to stay well away from the area to let our crews focus on their work.
Residents who were evacuated from the area near the fireground are being allowed managed access to their properties by Police and Fire and Emergency personnel.
Extreme care needed this weekend
Canterbury residents are being reminded to take extreme care with all activities that could cause a spark that will set vegetation on fire, with winds forecast to get stronger tomorrow.
Fire and Emergency’s Region Manager Brad Mosby says today’s major fires at Amberley and Loburn, near Rangiora, show how fast fires develop and how difficult it can be for firefighters to bring them under control in these conditions.
“Without speculating on the cause of today’s fires, it’s clear that this is the time for everyone to be extremely careful.” Brad Mosby said.
Most of the mid and upper South Island is in a prohibited fire season, meaning no open fires are allowed. All fire permits are being suspended in the rest of Canterbury until 8am Monday because of the ongoing risk.
Fire and Emergency’s Regional Coordination Centre in Christchurch has been activated to support the multiple incidents, including on the West Coast where brigades are ready to assist with flooding.