Wildfire destroys 11 houses on outskirts of Christchurch
February 16 2017 12:57 PM
Wildfires - New Zealand
Wildfires threaten a suburb of Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island on Wednesday.


An out-of-control wildfire on the outskirts of Christchurch in southern New Zealand destroyed 11 homes on Thursday, according to local media.
Almost 400 people - including police, defence force personnel and firefighters - battled the blaze in the Port Hills area with the help of water-carrying helicopters, Radio New Zealand reported.
Although the danger from the fire was far from over, firefighters have made good progress against the flames, according to the report.
Fire officer Douglas Marshall told Radio NZ there had not been any significant flare-ups on Thursday and his crew would monitor the situation closely overnight.
The fire, which started on Monday and is believed to have been caused by an electrical problem, has already burned 1,800 hectares, or 18 square kilometres.
About 450 homes have been evacuated and hundreds of residents have also voluntarily decided to leave their homes. Emergency services were preparing to keep fighting the blaze over the weekend.
Prime Minister Bill English visited the Christchurch command centre on Thursday and told journalists he had confidence in the performance of the firefighters dealing with the blaze.

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