Major fire in North Canterbury, wildfire risk high

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 10, 2024 |


Three households in the Hurunui District self-evacuated following a vegetation fire overnight.

While much of the South Island is on alert for flooding, Fire and Emergency is reminding Cantabrians that parts of the region are still at risk from wildfires and urging people in rural areas to stay vigilant.

The Masons Flat fire was reported shortly after midnight and swiftly escalated to a third alarm, bringing in crews from 14 brigades.

The fire is now contained and one household has returned home this morning but the other two are waiting until fire-damaged trees have been felled.

A Fire and Emergency shift manager said there are 60 personnel still onsite, working to keep the fire contained.

Fourteen brigades from throughout the North Canterbury region joined in the operation overnight including those from Hanmer, Pines Beach, Waikari, and Woodend.

Fire and Emergency Response Coordinator Brian Keown said that in most of rural Canterbury the underlying fire danger remains high and the amount of rain currently forecast for coastal areas may not change that.

“It’s not unusual for us to be dealing with flooding in one part of our region and fires in another. It’s understandable that people might see the rain warnings and think that the wildfire risk has finished, but what happened in Hurunui overnight is a clear reminder that the threat remains for now,” Keown said.

Banks Peninsula, Christchurch City and most of the high country are still in a prohibited fire season and the Canterbury Plains north of the Rakaia River is in a restricted season.

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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