Road blocks have been put in place and homes are being evacuated after a burn-off in Canterbury went out of control in high winds.

The fire was this afternoon threatening properties on Rowallan Rd and Deans Rd west of Darfield, near Christchurch.

Police said strong winds had caused the fire to spread through fields towards Homebush Rd and Waireka Rd.

"Fire and police are in attendance. Road blocks are in place in the area and some houses have been evacuated," police said.


"Police ask that people do not travel west or southwest of Darfield. If people reside south of Homebush Rd, they should keep an eye on the situation and be prepared to evacuate if called upon by police or Fire Service."

Selwyn District Council said 12 fire appliances and about 70 firefighters were at the fire. Five helicopters were either at the scene or on the way.

An incident command point is operating near the fire and there are some road closures in place nearby.

"Due to the significant strong nor'west wind conditions it is difficult for the Fire Service to control currently," the council said.

"Anyone near this location who is asked to leave their property by police or fire services should follow their instructions."

Fire Service shift manager Brent Dunn said fire crews have also been battling fires in Selwyn, Ashburton and South Canterbury.

-additional reporting Emily Murphy, Newstalk ZB