Up to 400 people have been evacuated by emergency services, with many more choosing to leave themselves after the fires surged through Christchurch’s Port Hills.
The Civil Defence initially reported that 40 homes had been destroyed but later revised that number down to two or three.
Helicopters and planes, which were helping to tackle the blaze, have been stood down for the night but crews on the ground continue their efforts to bring the inferno under control.
New Zealand’s military has been deployed to provide water tankers and engineering equipment as well as firefighters and other personnel.
A fire has decimated the countryside in Christchurch, New Zealand
We need to be able to draw on all the resources possible to give residents confidence in the response
Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel
The blaze claimed its first life on Tuesday when helicopter pilot David Steven Askin died while fighting the fire.
Mr Askin was dumping water on the blaze when his helicopter came crashing down, the brave emergency worker died at the scene. Three investigations have since been launched into his death.
Police have demanded people to stop using drones to photograph the devastation as it poses a “major safety risk to helicopters”.
However, they said that there were nothing to suggest a drone was involved in the fatal helicopter crash.
The fire has claimed the life of one emergency services worker
Mr Askin, 38, an SAS war hero once injured in a Taliban shootout, was praised by his loved ones, who paid tribute to the helicopter pilot.
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Paul Askin, the man’s father, said: “H just enjoyed life to the full, he said life is far too short and you’ve got to live it and he did.”
He added: “Steve was a man who did some dangerous things, he saw life-threatening situations in the army and he came through but it came to an end.”
Investigator Superintendent Lane Told said it was “too early to determine exact specifics of the crash”.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) said three investigators were at the crash site on Wednesday and expected to there for much of the day. They are not in any danger from the fire, which was about two kilometres away.
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Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says a city response is required to ensure the safety and welfare of residents.
“Christchurch needs a multi-agency response given the seriousness of the situation. We need to be able to draw on all the recourses possible to give our residents confidence in the ongoing response,” she urged.
The Civil Defence are advising locals who have any concerns about their safety to leave their homes.
Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said changing winds have made the fires unpredictable.
He said the region had been unusually dry for the past three years and the grass in the hills had turned brown over the summer.
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