Strong winds are preventing helicopters from being deployed to several rural fires in the South Island.
On-call Region 5 Commander Keith McIntosh said resources are stretched in Otago and Southland where a regional co-ordination centre had been activated to monitor the situation.
He said at one stage this afternoon, 37 appliances and tankers were involved across the region.
Fire crews fight three separate fires in Southland
At 2.30pm, crews were fighting two fires within 5km of each other in the Waimea Valley, with another near Dacre.
Assistant Area Commander Deane Chalmers said that the first fire in the Waimea Valley was reported in a hedge at 8am and because of the wind, spread rapidly 400m along the roadside to a haybarn and deer yards.
Five appliances and six tankers fought the fire, co-ordinated from the command unit.
"Due to the determined efforts of the firefighters, we were able to protect the house and other important structures on the farm," Chalmers said.
He said he understands it was power lines arcing together that had caused that fire.
By 2pm the site was being dampened down and crews were redeployed to a second fire about 5km away.
The fire had started in a pile of forestry slash and was moving uphill towards a small forestry plantation.
Chalmers said with winds gusting up to 100km/h in the area, it had not been possible to use helicopters.
By 3pm crews had contained the fire within a cordon.
The fire near Dacre was reported just after 1pm and had burned a hedge and haybales.
Crews from Invercargill, Edendale and Wyndham are still at the scene at 3.15pm.
Occupants of three properties preparing to evacuate near Fairlie
The occupants of three properties were being prepared to evacuate near Fairlie as crews from five rural and four urban brigades battle a fire in a forestry plantation, which started about midday.
Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer Ray Gardner said five appliances, five tankers and three diggers were on site with more resources on the way, including the Timaru Command Unit.
The fire began in an area of forestry operations and had begun to spread to the standing trees, but efforts to prevent it spreading further had been successful so far, Gardner said.
Near Owaka, two helicopters and four ground crews are fighting a fire that has reignited from a previous rural burnoff.
And near Waikouaiti fire crews are working to protect a house after two workshops were destroyed by a fire that had begun in a line of trees.