Christchurch seaside fire contained, people return to homes

A fire that was threatening properties in the Christchurch seaside suburb of Southshore this afternoon has been contained.

The fire started just after 3pm and spread into trees and beach dunes.

The fire command centre in New Brighton Source: 1 NEWS

Twelve at-risk properties were evacuated as a precaution but the majority of cordons have been lifted and residents are back in their homes.

The Fire Service Assistant Area Commander for Christchurch Metro says crews are now working on extinguishing the remaining hotspots.

"The fire affected an extensive area on the foreshore and threatened a number of homes," Greg Crawford said.

Police have been knocking on doors in New Brighton suggesting residents move on as several fire appliances battle the blaze. Source: 1 NEWS

"Our current focus is on extinguishing the remaining hotspots to make the area safe while we still have daylight".

The Fire Service says it's too early to determine the cause of the fire, but neighbours say they saw "suspicious characters" in the dunes just minutes before fire started.

A total fire ban will come into effect in the Christchurch City Council area tomorrow.