Canterbury on alert after large blaze

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller
Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller
Several fires in Canterbury on Tuesday have left the region on high alert.

The region has been on watch after strong winds fanned the flames of a 15ha blaze near Cass Bay, forcing the evacuation of 20 properties yesterday.

The fires last night have been caused by trees becoming tangled in powerlines.

Residents have since returned home and crews are out this morning checking it is fully extinguished.

North Canterbury Principal Rural fire officer Bruce Janes told Morning Report the Cass Bay fire and a number of other smaller blazes started the same way.

The Cass Bay fire was wrapped up by nightfall, with a helicopter and a crew of specialist high country firefighters working on the blaze.

The crews will be checking the ground this morning at this site and the site of the smaller fires, he said.

He said people need to get out and check any fires that have been lit in the last few days because they will kick up in the wind.

"Especially stuff with bigger logs, bigger branches, that sort of thing which can hold for a long time."

Hay can also cause a problem if moisture in the foliage heats up and combusts or moisture there is from when it rained.

"Those are things to check."

The conditions are improving, Janes says, but things are expected to pick up as the day warms up.



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