Houses were damaged and people evacuated in one of Canterbury's blackest fire days yesterday.
Fires on Shands Rd and Selwyn Rd near Prebbleton quickly got out of control, spreading across tinder dry farmland and engulfing anything in its path.
The blazes were whipped up by strong nor'westerly winds.
By 6pm last night the fire had jumped across roads and helicopters with monsoon buckets were desperately fighting a front near Springs Rd and Robinsons Rd to stop it heading towards the township of Lincoln.
Ten people in a house were plucked in a "snap rescue" by firefighters near Shands Rd.
"They got in fast and got out fast," Fire Service spokesman Ian Lynn said.
By 6pm four houses were either damaged or destroyed by the blaze.
Stock was moved and worried landowners transported horses from the area.
Selwyn Rd resident Amy Throsby, 20, was fearing the worst after she saw her home engulfed in black smoke about 3pm.
Miss Throsby believed the fire started in a quarry behind her property and spread to a neighbouring chicken farm.
``We live next to the chicken farm and I could see black smoke behind our property. It just went up from there.''
Miss Throsby said she grabbed her dog and fled in her car.
``The wind is not helping at all,'' she said.
``The fire was out on the road on the grass front.''
Miss Throsby's mother, Bev Throsby, said: ``It's so dry, it's all rural around here.''
Mrs Throsby had been trying to contact the owners of the chicken farm.
``They've just gone away on holiday today,'' she said.
``We didn't manage to get their dog. We don't know where he is.''
Miss Throsby said police have evacuated people from the stretch of Selwyn Rd. She didn't how many people had been moved.
She said: ``I was scared more because of the smoke and I didn't know what was going to happen.
``I even joked about Australia. I thought: `I hope it doesn't turn into Australia and spread'. Now look at it.''