New Zealand wildfires prompt hundreds of evacuations

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.