Two fires in sand dunes in the East Christchurch suburb of New Brighton tonight are being treated as suspicious.

Firefighters were called just after 6pm to Marine Parade, and at least four homes were evacuated on their arrival. Residents were allowed to return home about three hours later.

A Southern Fire Communications spokesman said 90 minutes after emergency services were first called, a second fire was lit.

Both were put out quickly, and are being treated as suspicious.

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Emergency services have been battling a two major fires in the Port Hills, near Christchurch, since Monday.