A number of properties have been evacuated as strong winds fan flames from a large scrub fire at Cass Bay, near Lyttelton in Canterbury.
Fire and Emergency NZ say 20 properties have been evacuated along the Corsair Bay flank of the fire.
In the latest update, Fire and Emergency say the fire is now contained and evacuated residents should be able to go home around 5pm.
"Lyttelton-Governors Bay Road (Park Terrace), from Corsair through to Rapaki is currently closed. It is expected to re-open at around 5.30pm," Fire and Emergency says.
"Fire and Emergency asks people to stay away from the area and to keep their doors and windows shut, especially those particularly vulnerable to the effects of smoke."
Governors Bay resident Belinda Thomas told 1 NEWS ‘"we saw the flames start between two trees and take hold quickly. We tried to ring 111."
She says she was amazed at the speed of the volunteer fire crews getting hoses up the hill and says she feels very worried for people who own houses in the Cass Bay area.
Principal Rural Fire Officer Bruce Janes says the winds have been gusting up to 130km/h throughout the day and are expected to last until tomorrow morning.
"Since the gusts got up earlier today, crews across the region have been chasing fires and attended multiple callouts right across the region."
Another fire has also broken out in Canterbury at Loburn, just north of Rangiora.
Fire and Emergency is asking anyone with a fire permit to hold off burning until conditions ease.