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Christchurch fire under control but houses lost

Thursday 10 Jan 2013 10:33 p.m.

Firefighters say they will be keeping a close eye on an area southwest of Christchurch tonight, after fire ravaged through it this afternoon.

The first reports of flames came around 3pm, and by 8pm four families were given the news that their homes are write-offs.

“All of us had a lot of photos that have been burnt and we don't have insurance on the house or anything because of the earthquakes,” says Amy Throsby.

For Ms Throsby it was an anxious wait at the cordon near her Selwyn Road home this afternoon.

She got out before the fire arrived but by the time she was allowed back in, her worst fears had been realised.

“[I’ve] got nothing at all. I've got my jeans and my jacket but that's pretty much all that's saved of our house.”

Her home is one of four destroyed by the blaze that sent thick clouds of smoke into the air but thankfully caused no injuries.

The fire didn't make it to David Miller's property, but he had the car packed and ready to go just in case.

“We've got two paddocks of hay cut lying down so that's why we knew if it got into there she'd just go,” says Mr Miller.

In total, it's estimated the fire covered an area of 150 hectares, or roughly 300 rugby fields.

And while the dry, hot and windy Canterbury nor' wester didn't help, firefighters say the damage was less than initially feared.

“My assessment is that we're extremely lucky and that the fire crews and the residents in the area have reacted very, very quickly – it certainly could have been far worse,” says assistant incident controller Chris Hewitt.

The fire is now under control but it took monsoon bucket-mounted helicopters and over 20 fire trucks almost two hours to douse it.

And the battle isn't over yet, firefighters will be working well into the night to ensure the remaining hot spots don't flare up again.

3 News

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