Fires in the outskirts of Christchurch has led to hundreds of people being evacuated in the city. A state of emergency has been declared in the area and authorities have been sent in to help firefighters with the two fires.
The fires have destroyed at least 11 homes in the area and residents have been told the fire could change direction and spread to other areas. Firefighters have stopped part of the fire but it is not yet under control. Authorities are still investigating what caused the fire in the area.
The fire began in two places on Monday and authorities quickly moved to stop it from spreading. The blaze merged a few hours later in the hills south of the city. On Tuesday, an army pilot lost his life when his helicopter crashed as he helped contain the fire, which has destroyed more than ten homes.
Helicopters have been dropping water on the fires since they began on Monday. Hundreds of homes have been evacuated in the area while more decided to leave before police began evacuations. 14 helicopters and three planes have been brought in from other areas to contain the fire. More than 100 firefighters have also been sent to the area.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fires but New Zealand’s Prime Minister Bill English has said it looks a bit suspicious. The Prime Minister tweeted hours ago that while the Port Hills fire is contained, it’s not yet under control. He added that a change in the weather could see it take off.
Rain could also come from the north, which would help authorities stop the fire. On social media, local residents have begun helping the people evacuated by offering them a place to stay. The fires are now said to be covering more than 4,000 acres in the south of the city.