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Firefighters battle Canterbury blaze

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/02/2017

<span style="font-size:13px;">Fire-fighting helicopters are struggling to contain a rural Canterbury blaze in hot and windy weather as the fire spreads over a train line.</span> © SNPA Fire-fighting helicopters are struggling to contain a rural Canterbury blaze in hot and windy weather as the fire spreads over a train line. An large fire is burning through scrub and forests in Canterbury and has closed the Christchurch to Greymouth railway line. 

Eight helicopters are pouring buckets of water on the blaze in part of the Waimakariri Gorge.

The fire started in the early hours of Saturday morning.

KiwiRail says there has been some damage to bridges and signals equipment but it won't know how much until it can check safely when the fire is under control.

The fire is between an area known as staircase and Craigieburn.

The track is closed until further notice, which affects the TranzAlpine passenger train and freight services.

Department of Conservation North Canterbury operations manager Kingsley Timpson said more resources were being deployed to the site, while hot and windy conditions were making it too dangerous to put crews on the ground.

Although the smoke was making assessment of the area difficult, the blaze was believed to have spread across more than 100 hectares, he said.

That included some areas of forest and efforts were being made to get those sections under control.

No one is believed to be injured.

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