BREAKING: Multiple fires threatening property and livestock near Kirwee

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Jan 07, 2024 |

Photo: Sioeli Taufa Ofa

Fire crews are battling multiple blazes (spot fires) near train tracks on State Highway 73.

Fire and Emergency received multiple calls about spot fires along the tracks between Aylesbury and Darfield, west of Christchurch, around 4.15pm on Sunday.

A motorist said “we went past the train just before Kirwee and called 111 as soon as we saw what was happening. The fires were starting both sides of the track as the train flew through.”

Video: Cushla Kerr

All trains have been stopped.

Photo: Michael Oliver

A number of houses are under threat, especially in the Kirwee area.

Police are assisting with road closures and the public is asked to stay away from the area.

The fires are not contained at this time and Fire and Emergency crews are spread across multiple fires. 

Three helicopters have been fighting the fires, alongside 17 ground crews, including pumps, tankers, smoke chasers and a Command Unit.

Crews are in attendance from Kirwee, Darfield, West Melton, Hororata, Dunsandel, Springfield, Wigram, Canterbury High Country and the Christchurch Command unit.

Photo: Sarah Visker

The Command Unit was being set up at the Kirwee Pub carpark.

A police spokeswoman said the fire started due to sparks from a train travelling towards Darfield.

A diversion is in place at the intersection of State Highway 73 and Courtenay Road.

Motorists are asked to follow the directions of emergency services staff.

Photo: Michael Oliver

An eyewitness told Chris Lynch Media the wind was blowing flames towards houses and paddocks away from the road.

Police have been called to stop traffic.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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