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It was a day of disruption and despair for thousands of Christchurch residents as the Port Hills' wildfires continue to blaze a path of destruction at the edge of the country's second largest city.
A state of emergency was declared and four homes were destroyed late yesterday after a wind change put southwestern suburbs in the danger zone, bringing to five the total number of homes lost since the twin wildfires in Marley Hill and Early Valley began early Monday evening.
Last night up to 1000 people had left their homes in suburbs near the Port Hills - about a third as part of compulsory evacuations.
Selwyn District Council spokesman Stephen Hill said the Marley Hill fire spread extensively down Worsley Spur, causing extensive vegetation burning in the Christchurch Adventure Park, and it was approaching the residential area of Westmoreland.
The Early Valley Rd fire area was also extending last night.
"The fires are within an estimated 1655 hectare area - not all of this area is alight as the fire has been extinguished in some locations."
At least 10 roads were closed and authorities told people to stay away from areas where emergency crews were working. Authorities were grateful for offers of assistance and donated goods, but these were not needed at this stage.