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Wind, bushfire, power outages in Canterbury

Canterbury is being battered by high winds – especially the greater Christchurch area.

It has kept the Fire Service busy, and spokesman Tim Reynolds says they have been inundated with calls.

“Approximately 50 weather-related incidents from about 2.00AM this morning.

“We’ve responded to power lines down, trees down, and some rooves lifting.”

There are no reports of injuries, but there are thousands of customers without power in many inland areas of Canterbury including Lincoln, Prebbleton and in the Christchurch suburb of Bishopdale .

Meanwhile a downed power line has caused a huge bush fire in the Powells Road area.

Chief Fire Officer Kevin Green says at least six fire trucks have been battling the blaze. which is now under control.

“It stretched spot fires all the way along the road for about two kilometres. Two houses were threatened, which we have managed to save. We lost a farm shed.

“The people of the houses that were threatened – we’ve had the people out of those houses, but we haven’t had to evacuate any other houses.”

Electricity company Orion says 9,800 affected customers are in the area south west of Christchurch.

There are also some smaller outages throughout Christchurch City and on Banks Peninsula.

Chief executive Rob Jamieson says it will take some time to find and fix each fault, particularly in the rural areas.

“We’re hoping to have about half of those 10,000 customers back on by noon, and then working through the rest this afternoon.”

He is warning people to stay well clear of any downed power lines, and there is a possibility of further outages.

“What happens sometimes is the trees get damaged in the wind, and it takes them a while for a brand to fall off.

“Sometimes we have to disconnect power to repair a part of our network, and then bring it back on. Yeah, there could be a few instances like that today.”

– By Sam Thompson, NewstalkZB


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