Firefighter taken to hospital as crews continue to battle blazes

Two people - including one firefighter - have been injured while battling the large scrub fires in North Canterbury.

Fire crews were still fighting two fires near the Ashley River on Wednesday morning, in spite of the much needed rain last night bringing a small reprieve, a Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokeswoman says.

The "high-risk" blazes in Loburn have been contained for now - but are not yet under control, she said.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

A firefighter was transported to Christchurch Hospital yesterday, while another injured person was treated at the scene.

The first fire off Dunlops Rd has been burning since 3.30pm on Sunday and a separate fire along the riverbank to the east of the Ashley-Loburn Bridge started about 5.45am on Monday.

Crews were in place at both sites overnight on Tuesday, patrolling the containment lines and responding to flare-ups as required.

Full fire fighting operations resumed this morning.

Once the fires are under control, it could take several days for them to be completely extinguished, the spokeswoman said.

The fires are still within the containment lines and no properties are currently at risk.

However, the fires are still active and the entire area is considered dangerous, with fire crews telling the public to stay away from both sites.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Deputy principal rural fire officer for North Canterbury Dale Wilhelm said while the rain is welcomed, the danger isn’t over yet.

"Within a couple of days, we’ll be back to where we were, so it’s really important that we have resources on site for at least the next few days actively suppressing these fires," he said. 

"As previously warned, the fire is still active, and we ask the public to stay well away from the area."

Mr Wilhelm thanked the community for their support during the fires, and said their messages and tokens of appreciation have been very well received by all involved.

Incident controller Graeme Knight said the fires may cause more smoke today and some dust clouds. He said anyone living nearby should keep their windows closed and stay indoors.

If you are adversely affected by smoke phone your doctor or visit the nearest hospital emergency department.

North Canterbury is in a prohibited fire season, and people are being urged to avoid any activities that have the potential to cause sparks.

 

 

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