Swannanoa fire: 40 Firefighters, 4 Helicopters Contain Waimakariri River bed fire

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Jan 20, 2024 |

Photo: Beth Mackenzie-Newlands

The fire burning at the Waimakariri River bed near Swannanoa has been contained, thanks to the efforts of forty firefighters and the support of four helicopters, halting its further spread.

Photo: FENZ Canterbury

Fire and Emergency Assistant Commander Des Irving says the fire is deep seated in scrub and forestry and firefighters are facing challenging conditions.

A fire investigation has begun.

Photo: Lauren Kirk

Firefighting will continue through the night and into tomorrow.

The full extent of the fireground is still being mapped but it’s estimated to be burning an area roughly twelve hectares.

FENZ Canterbury

People are asked to stay away from the area.

Photo: Dan Mobbs

Fire and Emergency Assistant Commander Brian Keown is repeating calls for people to be extremely careful with any activities that could spark a fire, as the heat and wind are making it challenging for firefighters to bring vegetation fires under control.

Photo: Heidi McDonnell

The causes of all three fires have not yet been determined, but all fire permits have been suspended across Canterbury.

Photo: Joe Daly


The large vegetation fires at Loburn are tonight contained and controlled.

Incident Controller Colin Russell says fire crews have made good progress and will remain overnight to monitor and extinguish hotspots.

Overnight crews will also carry out detailed thermal imaging of structures destroyed or damaged by the fires.

Two houses, a church and a number of sheds and structures including vehicles and machinery were destroyed or damaged in the Loburn fire which started around 3pm on Friday.


Fresh crews will be back in the morning.

Earlier today the Waimakariri District Council Welfare Team and Fire and Emergency staff met with impacted residents, and together staffed a Fire and Emergency community hub caravan on Loburn Whiterocks Road to answer resident’s questions and look after their welfare.

Power was reinstated around 1pm today and all residents who were able to have returned to their homes.

Cordons were lifted and roads were opened around 4.30 but speed restrictions are in place on Loburn Whiterock Road between Hodgsons Road and Te Whare Orchard as firefighters are still working in the area.


The Amberley fire is contained and under control and firefighters are continuing to uncover and put out deep-seated hotspots, with the help of heavy machinery.

Des Irving says crews will remain on the fireground overnight.

All homeowners evacuated from the Amberley fire are now back home. 

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]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?