Pacific

New Zealand wildfires prompt hundreds of evacuations

  • A helicopter dumps water on a wild fire in the Port Hills near Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Up to 15 helicopters, and over a 100 firefighters have been battling two massive wildfires that have burnt over 700 hectares since erupting on Monday evening. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    A helicopter dumps water on a wild fire in the Port Hills near Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Up to 15 helicopters, and over a 100 firefighters have been battling two massive wildfires that have burnt over 700 hectares since erupting on Monday evening. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)  (The Associated Press)

  • A helicopter dumps water on a wild fire in the Port Hills near Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Up to 15 helicopters, and over a 100 firefighters have been battling two massive wildfires that have burnt over 700 hectares since erupting on Monday evening. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    A helicopter dumps water on a wild fire in the Port Hills near Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Up to 15 helicopters, and over a 100 firefighters have been battling two massive wildfires that have burnt over 700 hectares since erupting on Monday evening. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)  (The Associated Press)

  • Two helicopters pass by as they fight a wild fire in the Port Hills near Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Up to 15 helicopters, and over a 100 firefighters have been battling two massive wildfires that have burnt over 700 hectares since erupting on Monday evening. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    Two helicopters pass by as they fight a wild fire in the Port Hills near Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Up to 15 helicopters, and over a 100 firefighters have been battling two massive wildfires that have burnt over 700 hectares since erupting on Monday evening. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)  (The Associated Press)

Hundreds of homes in the New Zealand city of Christchurch have been evacuated as wildfires threaten some suburbs.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton tells The Associated Press he's planning to declare a state of emergency, as was the mayor of adjacent Christchurch. He says changing winds have made the fires unpredictable.

Displaced residents are staying at evacuation centers or with relatives.

A helicopter pilot died in a crash Tuesday while fighting the blaze.

The New Zealand military on Wednesday revealed the pilot, Corporal David Steven Askin, was a soldier who had won one of the country's top awards for bravery in Afghanistan. A member of the elite Special Air Service, Askin's identity was kept secret at the time he won the Gallantry Star medal.