A war hero who was cited for 'exceptional bravery' and who was injured in a battle with the Taliban has died fighting wildfires in his native New Zealand.
Corporal David Steven Askin, who served in New Zealand's SAS in Afghanistan, was killed in a helicopter crash in Port Hills, Christchurch.
The 38-year-old had been pouring water onto the devastating flames which have engulfed land around the city.
He died at the scene of the crash.
David Steven Askin pictured after a firefight with the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2011
The crash claimed the life of SAS war hero Corporal David Steven Askin, who was fighting the flames
In 2014, Askin was wounded during a grenade-and-gun battle with the Taliban. He was awarded the New Zealand Gallantry Star, the second-highest military honour, for his bravery.
He was one of the troops who responded to a raid at the InterContinental Hotel in Kabul in 2011, when 20 people died.
Witnesses said the actions of Askin and his colleagues saved the lives of many in the hotel.
The 38-year-old died SAS war hero died at the scene of the crash
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said at the time: 'Our NZSAS personnel operate in dangerous and volatile situations and all of these men have demonstrated extreme courage in the face of a determined enemy.'
More than 1,000 people fled their homes and at least seven houses have been destroyed by a bushfire.
About 450 homes were officially evacuated on Thursday morning, while more people have left of their own accord.
'We understand it's hard for people to leave their homes but the fire can change direction and move incredibly quickly,' police Senior Sergeant Ash Tabb said.
The fires were fanned by strong winds and merged into one. It covered more than 1850 hectares on Wednesday night