In New Zealand, firefighters stave off a devastating wildfire

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST 9 Photos
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Raging wildfires near a suburb of Christchurch in New Zealand's South Island. Civil defence officials declared a state of emergency in the South Island city late last night as two blazes that had been smouldering for days merged into a single giant fire-front. (/Mark Hannah / REUTERS)

Raging wildfires near a suburb of Christchurch in New Zealand's South Island. Civil defence officials declared a state of emergency in the South Island city late last night as two blazes that had been smouldering for days merged into a single giant fire-front. (/Mark Hannah / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST
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A helicopter dumps fire retardant on wildfires near Christchurch in New Zealand. Fourteen helicopters and three planes were helping battle the blaze, the maximum number of aircraft that could safely operate around the fire-front at one time. (Mark Hannah / REUTERS)

A helicopter dumps fire retardant on wildfires near Christchurch in New Zealand. Fourteen helicopters and three planes were helping battle the blaze, the maximum number of aircraft that could safely operate around the fire-front at one time. (Mark Hannah / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST
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Wildfires simmer close to a suburb of Christchurch, raising warning signals for the residents. About 1,000 people have been evacuated so far, but with winds forecast to pick up and fan the flames, authorities warned residents to flee at the first sign of danger. (Mark Hannah / REUTERS)

Wildfires simmer close to a suburb of Christchurch, raising warning signals for the residents. About 1,000 people have been evacuated so far, but with winds forecast to pick up and fan the flames, authorities warned residents to flee at the first sign of danger. (Mark Hannah / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST
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A helicopter dousing the fire in Christchurch early on February 16, 2017. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

A helicopter dousing the fire in Christchurch early on February 16, 2017. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST
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Flames from the wildfire leap to the sky. Wildfires of such ferocity are rare in New Zealand, where regular rainfall usually prevents them reaching the intensity seen in places like Australia and the US west coast. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

Flames from the wildfire leap to the sky. Wildfires of such ferocity are rare in New Zealand, where regular rainfall usually prevents them reaching the intensity seen in places like Australia and the US west coast. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST
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Firefighters examining an area burnt by a wildfire on Worsleys Road in Christchurch. The emergency has so far claimed one life, when a helicopter that was dumping water on the flames crashed on Tuesday and killed pilot Steve Askin, a decorated special forces veteran. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

Firefighters examining an area burnt by a wildfire on Worsleys Road in Christchurch. The emergency has so far claimed one life, when a helicopter that was dumping water on the flames crashed on Tuesday and killed pilot Steve Askin, a decorated special forces veteran. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST
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Firefighters combat the wildfires along Worsleys Road in Christchurch before sunrise on February 16, 2017. 200 firefighters were operating about 45 pumps and tankers on the ground, with police and the military also providing additional personnel for the emergency response. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

Firefighters combat the wildfires along Worsleys Road in Christchurch before sunrise on February 16, 2017. 200 firefighters were operating about 45 pumps and tankers on the ground, with police and the military also providing additional personnel for the emergency response. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST
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Residents watch the wildfire on Worsleys Road in Christchurch. With a thick pall of smoke hanging over Christchurch, residents with respiratory ailments were advised to stay indoors. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

Residents watch the wildfire on Worsleys Road in Christchurch. With a thick pall of smoke hanging over Christchurch, residents with respiratory ailments were advised to stay indoors. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST
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Firefighters reach the wildfire area in Christchurch before sunrise on February 16, 2017, to redouble efforts to extinguish the flames. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

Firefighters reach the wildfire area in Christchurch before sunrise on February 16, 2017, to redouble efforts to extinguish the flames. (Oliver WATSON / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2017 01:35 AM IST
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