Power tools may have sparked a blaze that burned through 80 hectares of North Canterbury hill country, a fire officer says.
The fire started just before dusk yesterday and was fanned by a strong north-west wind, burning across a hill range between Culverden and Cheviot overnight.
Hurunui District Council said this morning the fire was under control after the wind dropped and the area received some rain.
Principal rural fire officer Allan Grigg said, while unconfirmed, it appeared the use of power tools started the fire in the drought-stricken area.
Culverden and Cheviot Fire Brigades had been checking for any risk to properties on either side of the fire.
Crews from Scargill, Conway and Waiau were been called in and Hawarden/Waikari units were on standby.
Fire crews will continue to monitor the area today.
Severe northwest gales hit Canterbury, Marlborough, Wellington and Wairarapa overnight. MetService said the gales gusting 120 to 140 km/h in exposed parts of the regions were expected to ease this morning.