1 Feb 2018

Canterbury fires: Three taken to hospital

6:41 pm on 1 February 2018

Dozens of people have been evacuated and three people taken to hospital because of a fire in West Melton.

A firefighter on scene at an incident. 6 July 2016.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The fire, to the west of Christchurch city, was one of a number of blazes in the region and broke out about 3pm.

It spread over across paddocks near Weedons Ross Road, but had been contained by about 6.30pm.

Three people were taken to hospital. One was in a serious condition and two others were being treated for smoke inhalation, the Canterbury District Health Board said.

They said 16 fire trucks and two helicopters were fighting the blaze.

The spokesperson said no homes were in immediate danger.

A spokesperson for Selwyn District Council said 50 people had been evacuated because of the fire, and a welfare centre had been set up at the West Melton community centre.

They said the fire was under control but not yet contained.

Six other fires across Canterbury

Canterbury firefighters were battling at least six other blazes across the region, on one of hottest days the area has seen this summer.

A fire near Christchurch burned through 10ha of scrub and grass, in scorching hot and windy conditions.

The blaze near Cass Bay was burning through gorse near the top of the hill, overlooking Governor's Bay Road. Fire and Emergency said five trucks and two helicopters were fighting the fire.

The fire has been contained.

They said very hot and windy conditions with the temperature reaching 35 degrees, combined with access difficulties, were proving a challenge but no buildings or homes were at risk.

Motorists were asked to avoid Governor's Bay Road near the blaze.

Fire and Emergency said members of the public should avoid the area near Cass Bay and cordons had been placed around an area around West Melton and the following roads: Halkett, Cladders, Weedon Ross and Gainsborough.

A witness near the Port Hills said the fire started before 2pm and looked fairly significant in size.

Fire and Emergency earlier said some fires had been sparked by powerlines coming down in dry conditions.

A spokesman said there had also been blazes in Manawatū and Wairoa.

They warned people to watch out for fires starting in similar conditions even if there had been rain in the area.

Meanwhile, Storm Fehi was continuing to batter much of the country.

If you have images of flood damage, please email: iwitness@radionz.co.nz

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