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Kirwee Fire Update #3

Seven aircraft and eight fresh crews of firefighters supported by heavy machinery will be attacking the large fire burning near Kirwee this morning.

Fire and Emergency Incident Controller Graeme Knight said it appeared that there had not been any damage to homes, but there would be an aerial inspection after daybreak that will confirm the situation.

The fire is not yet contained. It is currently estimated to have burnt about 80 hectares of pine plantation, scrub and some farmland alongside the Waimakariri River, by the Old West Coast Road.

Houses along Old West Coast Road between Cooks Road and Courtenay Road were evacuated by Police as a precaution last night, and many others in the vicinity chose to self-evacuate. Selwyn District Emergency Management opened an evacuation centre in the Kirwee Community Hall.

There will be a meeting for the evacuated residents and other people living nearby at 11am today, at the Kirwee Community Hall.

In the meantime, roadblocks remain in place and people are asked to stay well away from the fireground so firefighters, trucks and machinery can operate safely. There is also a ban on flying drones anywhere near the fireground.

Graeme Knight says that many people in and around Christchurch will be waking up to a lot of smoke this morning - it’s very obvious in Christchurch City as well as around the fireground itself. We recommend that people who are nearer to the fire ground stay indoors and keep their doors and windows shut to reduce their exposure to the smoke.

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