Port Hills fire - Saturday 25 February update 5pm

11h ago

Overnight crews will continue to monitor and patrol the fire in the Port Hills, both on the ground and in the air. The next update will be provided at 9am tomorrow.

Information and links

Sign up for the latest Port Hills fire updates for affected residents.  (external link)

Residents information

This interactive map shows the Port Hills fire hot spots (external link) and the latest cordon information.

Recreation  updates on parks and tracks 

Roads – for up-to-date road closure information, visit Transport for Christchurch. (external link)

Welfare – view the Port Hills Fire Welfare Information [PDF, 227 KB].

Questions and answers frequently asked questions about the Port Hills fire.


Port Hills Fire Public Update #4 Saturday 25 February – 5pm

Fire Update

Unless there is a significant development overnight this will be the last update until tomorrow morning at 9am. Overnight crews will continue to monitor and patrol the fire in the Port Hills, both on the ground and in the air.

Welfare

If you know of anyone in the affected area who hasn’t registered or you are concerned about, please encourage them to register online or through the Council’s Customer Contact Centre on 941 8999 or 0800 800 169.

 


Port Hills Fire Public Update #3 Saturday 25 February – 3.30pm

Cordon access – residents only

Firefighting operations will continue on the Port Hills until the incident management team is confident the fire is fully extinguished. The area is still an active fire zone.While cordons at Worsleys Road, Kennedys Bush Road, Hoon Hay Valley Road and Dyers Pass Road have been relaxed, this is for residents only. There is still no access for members of the public. 

Civil Defence Controller Malcolm Johnston says, “We’re appealing to the public to resist the temptation to come up for a look. Residents in these areas do not want rubberneckers, this includes mountain bikers and runners. There is also a significant safety issue, it is simply not safe for the general public to enter.” 

There are still many areas of the city where people can safely cycle, walk or walk their dogs. View the current status of walking tracks and cycling tracks.

 


Port Hills Fire Public Update #2 Saturday 25 February – 1.30pm

Drones invaluable

Following on from this morning’s update about drones, check out this footage (external link) of Dave Herries, Operations Manager talking about aerial infra-red and thermal imaging.

Walking and cycling tracks

Halswell Quarry remains closed to the public as it continues to be used as a staging area for firefighting operations. Tracks around Huntsbury, Bowenvale and into Victoria Park also remain closed. See full list of track closures here.

Please cooperate with these temporary closures to enable emergency services to get on with the fire response unhindered.

 


Update #1 Saturday 25 February 10am

Fire update

No significant incidents or flare-ups were reported overnight.

Infra-red and thermal imaging drones are being used during the night and early mornings to check hot-spots. Darrin Woods, Principal Rural Fire Officer says, “I can’t understate the value of this technology. Drone footage and the thermal maps enable fire crews to directly target the hot-spots in areas that have been scanned.”

Twenty crews will continue to work today on strengthening the fire containment lines with heavy machinery, supported by helicopters and ground operations. 

Dangerous trees will continue to be removed throughout the day.

A State of Emergency is still in place over both Christchurch and Selwyn and will remain in place as long as necessary.

Cordons

The cordons at Worsleys Road, Kennedys Bush Road and Hoon Hay Valley Road, have been relaxed for residents only. There is still no access for members of the public. Rural fire has deemed that this is still an operational fire area and as such public safety remains a priority and access must remain restricted. 

Three hard cordons remain on Dyers Pass Road. One is at the bottom where it meets Governors Bay Road, however residents who live on the section up to the hairpin bend about halfway up to the Sign of the Kiwi are permitted access to their properties.

Dyers Pass Road is closed from this hairpin bend to the entrance of Victoria Park due to the fire risk and safety issues. Preparations are underway to have the road open as soon as possible after the risk mitigation work is completed.

Walking and cycling tracks

A reminder that Rapaki, Mt Vernon Shared Use and Mt Vernon Farm tracks have reopened. However, a number of tracks remain closed. Visit the Council’s Parks web page for more information.

Interactive hot-spots map

Several people have reported difficulty viewing the interactive hot-spots map (external link) on Apple mobile devices. Minimising the legend may help you see the detail on the map. To do this, click on the small arrow at the top left of the legend panel.

Update #5 Friday 24 February 7pm

Recovery Managers named

Al Lawn and Murray Sinclair have been named as the managers to lead the Port Hills fire recovery in Selwyn district and Christchurch city respectively.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, as chair of the Canterbury CDEM Group Joint Committee, announced the appointments today.

“I am delighted that Al Lawn and Murray Sinclair have been appointed to the Recovery Manager roles and will lead the transition going forward. Both Al and Murray have extensive experience working in Civil Defence and I am confident they will effectively manage the recovery phase.”

More information on the Recovery Managers.

Update #4 Friday 24 February 5.15pm

Water Conservation

There has been heavy demand on the water supply network as a result of the firefighting response and some damage to water pipes in the area.

Civil Defence is asking people in the Port Hills area to conserve water as much as possible over the next week while water levels in the reservoirs are restored.

Dyers Pass Road

While Dyers Pass Road remains closed by emergency services, due to the fire risk, preparations are underway to have the road open as soon as possible

An assessment team has been into the cordon to review the damage and the good news is the road surface is physically safe, however a number of other safety issues must be addressed before the road is safe to reopen to the public. These include damaged signage and barriers, the risk of rock fall and the danger posed by damaged trees.

Preparations to address these safety issues are currently underway, however contractors will not be allowed into the cordon to carry out this work until the fire risk has been eliminated. A reopening time and date cannot be made until this happens.

It is appreciated this closure is very frustrating for the surrounding communities, but addressing all safety issues must be the priority.

Update #3 Friday 24 February 2.30pm

Aerial video showing Port Hills fire damage

Aerial footage (external link) showing damage from the Port Hills fire. Further images and updates will continue to be uploaded to this page.

Private water supply

Christchurch City Council is monitoring the main water supply for residents in affected areas. Residents that have a private water supply will need to manage this themselves. Any residents with concerns about possible contamination in their fresh water supply may wish to follow these helpful tips (external link) .

Port Hills parks

  • View of Kennedys BushVictoria Park: parts of Victoria Park including the dog exercise area, playground and picnic area, information centre and lower Harry Ell track are unaffected by the fire. However firefighting operations and assessments are still being carried out in these areas so until this work is completed public access is prohibited.
  • Halswell Quarry remains closed to the public as it continues to be used as a staging area for firefighting operations.
  • Tracks around Huntsbury, Bowenvale and into Victoria Park remain closed. See the full list of track closures here.
  • While areas of Marleys Hill and Mount Ada were significantly burnt in the fire, large sections of Kennedys Bush remain intact.
  • The future regeneration of the Port Hills area will be considered as part of the wider recovery plan for the area. 

Update #2 Friday 24 February 11.30am

Fire Situation

Principal Rural Fire Officer Darrin Woods said the area was still an active fire zone with new hot spots being identified.

“As long as hot spots remain in the Port Hills we will have a presence and this could be for some time, possibly up to four weeks unless there is a significant change in the weather. With ongoing firefighting activities in this area it is likely some access restrictions will remain in place.”

No significant incidents or flare-ups were reported overnight.

Extensive thermal imaging was carried out overnight, showing a continuing overall reduction in hotspots from yesterday. Significant reductions in hotspots have been noted in the Early Valley Road area, Hoon Hay Valley and Worsleys roads, above Dyers Pass Road, in the Adventure Park and in the area above Governors Bay. However hotspot activity is continuing to be seen in most areas.

Drones will be operating today, carrying out mapping and photography of the fire area, and assisting fire crews on the ground to identify hotspots.

Fire crews and support staff continue to be rotated throughout the operation to ensure all staff remain fresh and rested.

Update #1 Friday 24 February 9am

Residents meetings

There was good attendance at all three meetings – 23 residents at Hoon Hay Valley, 75-80 at Worsleys Road and 95-100 at Kennedys Bush. 

The meetings gave residents the latest information on the status of and risk from the fire in their area and where to seek additional help if needed. Residents also had the opportunity to ask questions. 

Fire situation

• 95% of the fire perimeter area is now considered to be controlled. Controlled is defined as bare earth or blacked out ground for at least 10 metres.
• Twenty crews are continuing to work today on strengthening containment lines with heavy machinery, supported by helicopters and ground crew operations
• Drones are continuing to be used during nights and early mornings to carry out thermal imaging.

Cordons

The cordons at Worsleys Road, Kennedys Bush Rd and Hoon Hay Valley Rd, have been relaxed for residents only. There is still no access for members of the public. Rural fire has deemed that this is still an operational fire area and as such public safety remains a priority and access must remain restricted. 

Three hard cordons remain on Dyers Pass Road. One is at the bottom where it meets Governors Bay Road, however residents who live on the section up to the hairpin bend about halfway up to the Sign of the Kiwi are permitted access to their properties.

Dyers Pass Road is closed from this hairpin bend to the entrance of Victoria Park. Public safety is a primary reason for the closure.

There has been considerable damage to not only the road infrastructure (ie burnt out guard rails) but also to the surrounding terrain above the road and it is considered there is an increased risk of rock-fall. This is due to the exposure and/or possible movement of rocks due to sluicing/drying of the ground. Also, partly burnt trees have been destabilised and pose a risk of falling onto the road. Civil Defence are working with Geo Technical/Structural Engineers and contractors to stabilise the rocks and trees and make the road safe.

At this stage there is no confirmed timeframe for the removal of these cordons.

Update #5 Thursday 7pm February 23

Fire situation

  • Overnight crews will continue to monitor and patrol the fire area.
  • Drones will be flying again overnight to undertake detailed mapping and thermal imaging. The drones provide accurate information about hotspot locations which is then given to fire crews to allow them to accurately identify which areas should be targeted to reduce fire activity. Drones are now also being used during daylight hours to support ground crews, providing visual access into difficult areas and helping to direct firefighters to hot spots. For safety reasons, the drones are not used over inhabited properties. 
  • Helicopter thermal imaging will recommence from first light tomorrow to continue identifying hot spots across the fire area.
    •  90% of the fire perimeter area is now considered to be controlled. Controlled is defined as bare earth or blacked out ground for at least 10 metres.
  • About 100 people have worked in the fire area today, in both land-based and aerial operations.
  • Fire crews are also working to identify any unburnt vegetation within the fire area and to reduce the fire risk associated with these areas by creating fire breaks or removing vegetation.

Smoke

  • Smoke remains an issue, but will continue to reduce as the hot spots are cooled.
  • If you are troubled by smoke or dust close your windows and doors, and avoid going outside until it abates.
  • Anyone experiencing health issues relating to smoke or dust should phone their own GP team.
  • A reminder that GP visits for people in affected areas will be free for the next two months – The offer period covers the 2 months from 13 February 2017, the day the fire started.

Residents welfare

  • The Welfare team are undertaking to contact all affected residents by phone to ascertain welfare needs and property condition.

Recovery

  • Initial recovery planning is underway and in the next few days both Christchurch City Council and Selwyn District Council will be announcing Recovery Managers to lead the recovery planning. Further information will follow once these appointments have been made.

Update #4 Thursday 2.30pm February 23

 

Free GP visits

Free GP visits are being offered to people affected by the Port Hills fires, at the discretion of their General Practice team. This includes people who worked on or are still working on fire control and recovery operations.

The offer period covers the two months from 13 February 2017, the day the fire started.

Update #3 Thursday 1:00pm February 23

 

Fire operations

Fire services advise that 90% of the fire perimeter area is now considered to be controlled. Controlled is defined as bare earth or blacked out ground for at least 10 metres.
About 100 people are working in the fire area today, in both land-based and aerial operations. While most of the fire perimeter area is defined as controlled, within this area there are many hotspots which could potentially flare up under some weather conditions and these are the focus of much of the fire operation.

Drones continue to be used to assist with the fire operation. They were used overnight to gather thermal and infrared hotspot imaging information. The drones provide accurate information about hotspot locations which was given to fire crews to allow them to accurately identify which areas should be targeted to reduce fire activity. Fire services are also looking at whether the drones may be used during the daytime. For safety reasons, the drones are not used overhead inhabited properties.
Thermal imaging continues to show a steady reduction in hot spots across large parts of the fire area, as a result of work by fire crews on the ground. However there are still a number of locations with where hot spots are continuing to be detected. New hotspots are continuing to be mapped and identified.
Fire crews are also working to identify any unburnt vegetation within the fire area and to reduce the fire risk associated with these areas by creating fire breaks or removing vegetation.

Smoke and dust

Fire suppression activities may generate dust or smoke. Smoke concentrations are forecast to continue to reduce as the fire hot spots are cooled. Concentrations will be high near and above the fire ground and may spread to neighbourhoods closest to the fire. In higher winds dust may pick up from the fire ground and get carried off the hill. Today, the projected trajectory for dust and/or smoke is towards the western suburbs of the city with highest concentrations at the base of the hill.
Health effects from short term exposure to smoke the will be little more than a nuisance. It may irritate the eyes, nose throat or airways. People with pre-existing respiratory illness or heart disease may experience a worsening or recurrence of their condition. If you are troubled by smoke or dust close your windows and doors, and avoid going outside until it abates.
Anyone experiencing health issues relating to smoke or dust should phone their own GP team. After hours a nurse will answer the phone and can advise you what to do or where to go.

Update #2 Thursday 11:30am February 23

 

Rubbish collection

Christchurch City Council wants to remind people that rubbish collection will take place in fire affected areas today from 12pm to 5pm. Wheelie bin collection will take place in:
• Worsleys Road
• Kennedys Bush Road
• Hoon Hay Valley Road
• Early Valley Road
• Dyers Pass Road (on the Governors Bay side).

All waste will be treated as rubbish. There is no need to separate recycling and organics.
Additional rubbish skips will be placed in Worsleys Road, outside numbers 323, 338 (2 skips) 351 and 353.
Dyers Pass Rd

Cordons

Residents of the Governors Bay area have inquired about the Dyers Pass Rd cordon.
Hazard assessment work is continuing on the slopes above this road, including for the risk that large rocks and trees could fall on the road.

There are still significant hotspots in the Marleys Hill area that are under active fire management.The condition of the road is also being assessed.We understand the frustration this road closure is causing and crews are working to open the road as soon as possible. Unfortunately, at this stage we are unable to give residents a timeframe for its reopening.

Livestock

There have been issues with wandering stock on some roads in and near the fire zone. Wandering stock is a significant hazard to road users. If you see wandering livestock please call the police on 111.

Aerial operations

As the fire becomes more manageable air operations are being reduced. Today there will be four aircraft operating. Drones are continuing to be used for thermal imaging to locate hotspots that still pose a risk of flare-up.Please remember, the fire area is a no-fly zone. This rule applies to all aircraft not involved in the firefighting effort, including private drones.

Update #1 Thursday 8:30am February 23

 

Residents Meetings

Civil Defence is holding street meetings for residents affected by the Port Hills fire at 6.30pm this evening (Thursday 23 Feb).

Meetings will be held at these locations:
• Kennedys Bush: 305 Kennedys Bush Road
• Hoon Hay Valley: 51 Hoon Hay Valley Road
• Worsleys Road: 327 Worsleys Road

Civil Defence Controller Anne Columbus said the aim is to provide residents with information. This will include the latest information on the status of and risk from the fire in their area and where to seek additional help if needed. People will also have opportunities to ask questions.
These meetings are for affected residents only.

 Fire status

• The fire perimeter is around 30 kilometres and covers 2075 hectares
• Geotechnical assessments are continuing on the slopes above residential areas. While these slopes appear sound at present, there is concern this could change with heavy rain.
• The potential for fire flare-ups remains. Information collected after infrared imaging carried out this morning will be used to update fire-risk models later today.
• More detailed assessment has been carried out on properties directly affected by the fire.

Cordons

Three cordons, at Worsley Road, Kennedys Bush Rd and Hoon Hay Valley Rd, have been relaxed.
All non-residents who need access – such as tradespeople, insurance representatives and other professional services, and those who own land within a cordon area but live elsewhere – should report to the cordon sign-in area to gain an entry permit. Residents are no longer required to meet visitors before they proceed through the cordon.
There is no access for members of the public.

 

 

Update #9 Wednesday 7pm February 22

We have nothing new to report since our 5.30pm update. Unless there is a significant development overnight, there will be no further updates.

The next update will be about 8am tomorrow, Thursday. 


Update #8 Wednesday 5.30pm February 22

Fire progress

The Fire Service is pleased to announce that good progress has been made in controlling the fire in the Worselys Road area.

Patrols will continue in the area, but crews will no longer be actively working in the area unless called in for a flare up.

Residents are asked to help by being vigilant and to DIAL 111 IMMEDIATELY IF THEY SEE ANY SIGN OF THE FIRE REIGNITING.

“Our crews have made great progress and we’re pleased to be able to pull back from the Worsleys area, but we really need people to keep a watch on things for us,’’ said Fire Service Liaison Officer Bruce Irvine. “The more eyes we have out there looking the better.”

Fire services are continuing operations in other areas affected by the fire. 

Rubbish collections

Christchurch City Council has organised rubbish collection of all Council waste bins in fire affected areas tomorrow afternoon from 12pm to 5pm. Wheelie bin collection will take place in:

  • Worsleys Road
  • Kennedys Bush Road
  • Hoon Hay Valley Road
  • Early Valley Road
  • Dyers Pass Road on the Governors Bay side.

All waste will be treated as rubbish. There is no need to separate recycling and organics.

Additional rubbish skips will be placed in Worsleys Road, outside numbers 323, 338 (2 skips) 351 and 353.


Update #7 Wednesday 4.15pm February 22

Water quality

Water supplies in areas affected by the fire have been tested to ensure they remain at the required drinking water standards and additional treatment has been undertaken where necessary. Ongoing testing will continue to ensure quality is maintained.

Tracks reopen

The barriers have been removed from Rapaki Track and tracks in Mt Vernon Farm Park.

Access to the Huntsbury Spur Track and Bowenvale Valley remain closed. This is because of continuing helicopter work in the area.

Information about shared use (walking and mountain biking) tracks.

Information about mountain biking tracks.


Update #6 Wednesday 3pm February 22

Drones

Rural firefighters are using drones above the fire zone today and this work will continue into the evening.

This enables vital thermal and infrared hotspot imaging information to be collected.


Update #5 – Wednesday 1:15pm February 22

Street meetings for residents

Civil Defence will hold three street meetings for residents and landowners tomorrow (Thursday 23 February) from 6.30pm at the following cordon locations:

  • 305 Kennedys Bush Road
  • 51 Hoon Hay Valley Road
  • 327 Worsleys Road.

The purpose at the meetings is to provide the latest information about the fire status and ongoing risks, and where residents and landowners can get further help and advice if needed. People will also have opportunities to ask questions, both in a group setting and one-to-one.

Rubbish collections

Christchurch City Council has organised rubbish collection of all Council waste bins in Worsleys, Kennedys Bush and Hoon Hay Valley roads between 12pm and 5pm tomorrow (Thursday).

All waste will be treated as rubbish and does not need to be separated into the relevant bin.

A waste skip will be located in Worsleys Road for residents to drop off any additional waste.

Fire update

The Rural Fire Authority reports that 81 per cent of the fire perimeter area is now considered controlled. “Controlled” is defined as bare earth or blacked-out ground for at least 10 meters. Fire crews will continue fire suppression work today and are aiming to have nearly all of the fire perimeter controlled by the end of the day. However, it is still an active fire. Around 250 fire and emergency services staff are on the ground today, including those involved in aerial operations.

Today’s weather forecast indicates the potential for fire break-outs to occur, with warm weather forecast and moderate-strong winds, along with a wind change this afternoon.

Last night a fire breached the containment lines close to a dwelling. Fortunately, it was identified by a Fire Service drone undertaking thermal imaging and was able to be suppressed quickly.

Drones were used overnight over a section of the fire ground but not above occupied properties, for safety reasons. The drones were used to gather thermal and infrared hotspot imaging information, which allows fire crews to accurately target areas of fire activity. Suppression of hotspots has been particularly focused near residential areas, and there has been a significant reduction in hotspot activity in these locations. However, new hotspots continue to be identified, and the Christchurch Adventure Park has a number of active hotspots which will take some time to suppress.

The drones will continue to be used tonight to help identify hotspots. They will also be used to provide more accurate information about the fire perimeter and identify any unburnt vegetation. Helicopters are also being used to provide thermal hotspot information from a higher altitude.


Update #4 – Wednesday 12:15pm February 22

Worsleys Road cordon status

Some people have reported receiving a text at around 6.50am this morning (Wednesday), supposedly from Police or Civil Defence, stating the Worsleys Road cordon would be completely open from midday today. That is incorrect and did not originate from either Police or Civil Defence. Accurate information about the Worsleys Road cordon status is as advised in previous updates – the cordon remains in place, with managed access for residents and landowners, as well as non-residents who have a legitimate need for access. There is no access for the general public until further notice.


Update #3 – Wednesday 11:15am February 22

Update to cordons access

Three cordons have been relaxed since yesterday, (Tuesday 21 February) to allow residents and landowners to return to their properties. Access by the general public to these cordons is still restricted until further notice. The cordons are:

  • Worsleys Road
  • Kennedys Bush Road
  • Hoon Hay Valley Road.

Civil Defence has now updated the process by which non-residents gain access to restricted areas, in order to make it easier for those with a legitimate need to go through the cordons.

  • All non-residents who need access – such as tradespeople, insurance representatives and other professional services, and those who own land within a cordon area but live elsewhere – should report to the cordon sign-in area to gain an entry permit. Residents are no longer required to meet visitors before they proceed through the cordon.
  • This means non-residents are no longer required to travel to Princess Margaret Hospital to gain access through a cordon, and residents are no longer required to meet them there.

Civil Defence Controller David Adamson says: “The registration process is still necessary because all of these newly reoccupied areas are close to the active fire-ground and it is essential Civil Defence knows who is within the cordons and how to contact them at any given time.”


Update #2 – Wednesday 9:30am February 22

No-fly zone over fire area

Christchurch City Council’s Principal Rural Fire Officer Darrin Woods strongly emphasises that a strict no-fly zone remains in place for the area bound by Princess Margaret Hospital, Sugarloaf, Teddington and Tai Tapu until midday Friday 24 February. Fire services are currently operating drones in the area to gather important thermal and infrared hotspot information. Members of the public are not allowed to operate drones or other remotely piloted aircraft systems at any time in the no-fly zone, and police will be notified about any breaches of this rule. Flying drones in this area illegally will be taken very seriously, as it compromises critical aerial firefighting operations and safety.

Accessing properties with burnt trees

Civil Defence strongly recommends that people who have regained access to their properties with burnt trees do not go near the trees until they have been inspected by an experienced arborist. This is for their own safety.

Damage to septic tanks

Residents whose properties were directly affected by the fire should engage a qualified plumber to check the condition of their septic tanks.


Port Hills fire – Update Wednesday 8.00am

Worsleys Road cordon to be lifted at 9am

At 9am today, the Worsleys Road cordon will be lifted up to 353 Worsleys Road, where Worsleys Track begins. The cordon will open for residents only, allowing them to return home.

There remains a small number of properties located on Dyers Pass and Summit roads that are cordoned off due to ongoing fire risk and other safety concerns. Civil Defence Welfare staff will be contacting these residents directly.

What residents need to know:

  • Residents will be checked into the cordon by police
  • You must present a photo ID, such as a driver’s licence or passport
  • Please be patient if you face a wait at the cordon. Returning residents will be allowed through as soon as possible
  • Access is open to Worsleys Road residents only
  • Registration for non-residents (e.g. insurance representatives, electricians and/or trades people) wishing to access the Worsleys Road cordon is open from 7.30am to 6.30pm each day, until further notice, in the Princess Margaret Hospital car park, Cashmere. All cordoned residents, including Worsleys Road residents, are required to meet these visitors there. 
  • Access to cordoned areas by the general public is restricted at this time until further notice.

Fire damage to trees

Residents whose properties were directly affected by the fire should engage a qualified arborist to check all mature trees. The Council’s arborists have been checking trees on roadsides and many are being felled because of fire damage.


Port Hills fire – Update Tuesday 7.30pm, final update for Tuesday

Worsleys Road cordon to open

Based on the latest fire assessment information, Civil Defence Controller Gary Foster is pleased to confirm that the Worsleys Road cordon will be lifted tomorrow (Wednesday) up to 353 Worsleys Road, where Worsleys Track begins. The cordon will open for residents only from 9am, allowing them to return home.

There remains a small number of properties located on Dyers Pass and Summit roads that are cordoned off due to ongoing fire risk and other safety concerns.

What residents need to know:

  • Residents will be checked into the cordon by police
  • You must present a photo ID, such as a driver’s licence or passport
  • Please be patient if you face a wait at the cordon. Returning residents will be allowed through as soon as possible
  • Access is open to residents only
  • Registration for non-residents (e.g. insurance representatives, electricians and/or trades people) wishing to access the Worsleys Road cordon is open until 6.30pm in the Princess Margaret Hospital car park, in Cashmere. Worsleys Road residents are required to meet these visitors there
  • Access by the general public is restricted at this time until further notice.

Port Hills fire – Update Tuesday 6pm

Today’s warmer temperatures and lower humidity have caused some minor flare-ups on the fire ground, with fire suppression work continuing to successfully deal with these and to address hotspots. Fortunately, current wind conditions are light-moderate.  

About 20 crews are continuing to work to install control lines using heavy machinery with support from helicopters.

Cordon locations continue to be reviewed based on updated fire-risk information and ground assessments. There remains a risk that changing weather conditions could cause hotspots to flare up and fire to spread. Police and fire crews will continue patrols within the fire area overnight.

Smoke modelling indicates wind conditions tomorrow (Wednesday) may direct smoke over much of the Christchurch CDB, and Christchurch Airport in the evening. Smoke may remain over these locations on Wednesday night and Thursday. The smoke’s thickness will depend on fire activity.


Port Hills fire – Update Tuesday 5pm

A reminder to the public that a strict no-fly zone remains in place for the area bound by Princess Margaret Hospital, Sugarloaf, Teddington and Tai Tapu until midday Friday 24 February. The New Zealand Fire Service is currently operating a drone in the area to gather thermal and infrared hotspot information. Members of the public are not allowed to operate drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems at any time in the no-fly zone, and police will be notified of any breaches of this rule.

A total ban on open-air fires remains in place for the Christchurch and Selwyn districts. The ban does not include gas barbecues or pizza ovens.


Port Hills fire – Update Tuesday 2pm

Earlier today two cordons opened to residents only, allowing them to return home. The cordons are:

  • Kennedys Bush Road
  • Hoon Hay Valley Road.

Residents are being given priority access to these areas. All non-residents (e.g. insurance representatives, electricians and/or trades people) need to obtain permits for access via Princess Margaret Hospital on Cashmere Road and arrange to meet residents there until further notice. Access by the general public is restricted at this time until further notice.

The access permits are available between 7.30am and 6.30pm.


Port Hills fire - Update Tuesday 1pm

Fire overview

Fire crews continued patrolling the fire scene last night, focusing on dampening down hotspots at Christchurch Adventure Park. Crew are also focusing on hotspots in the Early Valley Road, Hoon Hay Valley Road and Worsleys Spur area with a 40-50% reduction in fire activity from yesterday. Work to target hotspots will continue today across the entire fire ground. 

Mayor Lianne Dalziel

Aerial drones may be trialled this evening by emergency services over the fire ground areas around the Worsleys Road area and other locations as needed. The drones will not be overhead inhabited properties (for safety reasons). The drones are being trialled to gather thermal and infrared hotspot imaging information.

A reminder to the public that the no fly zone introduced previously remains in place for the area bound by Princess Margaret Hospital, Sugarloaf, Teddington, and Tai Tapu until midday Friday 24 February.

Around 20 crews are continuing to work to install control lines using heavy machinery with support by helicopters.

Cordon locations continue to be reviewed based on updated fire risk information and ground assessments.

Work also continues to remove dangerous trees at risk of falling due to fire damage, to improve safety for access and operations.

There remains a risk that changing weather conditions could cause hot spots to flare up and fire to spread so residents who have been able to return to their properties should be prepared to evacuate immediately.

Smoke

Cantabrians should be aware smoke may cover many parts of the region for the next 48-72 hours. Thickness of the smoke will depend on the number of hot spots within the fire-zone.

Smoke modelling indicates that on Wednesday wind conditions may direct smoke over much of the Christchurch CDB and Christchurch Airport in the evening and may remain over these locations on Wednesday night and Thursday. Fire suppression work may generate smoke and dust at times.

Canterbury DHB is reminding people to phone their GP team first if they experience any respiratory issues or concerns.


Port Hills fire - Update Tuesday 12.20pm

State of Emergency Extended (view media conference here) (external link)

The State of Emergency covering Christchurch City and Selwyn District has been extended, Mayor Lianne Dalziel announced today.

Mayor Dalziel and Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton took advice from Rural Fire, Fire, Police and Civil Defence in making the decision.

Mayor Dalziel said that while the fire had been “contained” in technical terms and all resources would be available regardless of the state of emergency, there was still a potentially serious situation in the Port Hills.

“The fire is still being fought on the ground and in the air. The environment remains volatile inside the controlled area. The fire is not out and there are extensive hotspots to deal with. There is always the risk that further evacuations could be required.”

Some residents are still unable to return to their homes and many people are still experiencing the effects of the fire, ranging from total loss of their homes to other property damage and personal trauma associated with this. Accordingly, agencies need to respond to their ongoing welfare needs.
Public access to a large area remains restricted.

“In short – this remains a serious situation that requires a significant and coordinated multi-agency response,” the Mayor said. “While the State of Emergency terminates tomorrow evening, we are mindful of the significance of 22 February to the Canterbury community and as a result we agreed it was appropriate to consider the status of the State of Emergency today.”

The extension automatically lasts for seven days, but can be terminated earlier.

The Joint Committee will meet on Friday to consider the transition to recovery. That will be an appropriate time to reconsider the need for the State of Emergency to remain in place.


Port Hills fire - Update 11.45am

Power Supply

Orion reports that around 22 customers remain without power in the Port Hills. These outages are focused around Hoon Hay Valley Road, Burkes Bush, Marleys Hill and Worsleys Road.

Most customers now have power services available to them. Orion advises that customers need to have their homes checked by an electrician and certified as safe so the power can be turned back on.

If you need to bring an electrician to your property while the cordon remains in place they will need to go to the cordon and speak with Police in the first instance.

Smoke

Due to suppression operations and thermal scan observations there is potential for smoke to be visible from the following areas:

  • Christchurch Adventure Park 
  • The top of Early Valley Road
  • South of Early Valley Road towards Holmeswood Rise.

If we have strong winds dust may be generated across the city from ash. Follow CDHB (external link) for health information regarding the smoke.


Port Hills fire - Update 8am

Cordon access

Cordon access at Kennedys Bush Road and Hoon Hay Valley Road is for residents only. There is no access for the general public at this point in time. The cordons will remain controlled and residents must present photo ID (drivers licence or passport) at the cordon point. Access for residents is for reoccupation of their homes. Residents need to be aware that the fire is still active so they need to be prepared to evacuate their homes at short notice if the situation changes.

A fireman takes a break battling the Port Hills fire

We will update changes to the cordons for the public in future updates.

Please note this means there is no access to the recreational areas, including the tracks, off Kennedys Bush Road.

Fire response

Fire crews are continuing to work in the Port Hills today.

Geotechnical assessments

Geotechnical engineers are continuing site assessments in the Port Hills today, focusing on areas in and around Victoria Park and Dyers Pass Road. Engineers are identifying hazards and carrying out rock and slope stabilisation to make the area safe.

Information for animal owners returning home

The following advice is for animal owners returning to properties after the Port Hills fires.

  • As you return you may find that pets, livestock or wildlife may have sustained injuries due to the fires. Below are the details of who you should contact;
  • Your pet(s) and/or livestock: Your local veterinarian is on standby to assess your animals. Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns relating to animal health. 
  • Stray animals: If you find animals that you do not own and are in need of immediate medical attention please take a small animal to your local veterinarian or contact the Canterbury SPCA (03 349 7057). For large animals, contact the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on 0800 00 83 33.
  • Wildlife: If you find injured wildlife please contact the South Island wildlife hospital based at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. (03 359 6226)
  • Lost and found pets - If you have lost or found a pet you can advertise at www.petsonthenet.co.nz for free if it is related to the Port Hills fires.

Port Hills fire - Update 6am

Based on the latest fire assessment information, Civil Defence Controller David Adamson is pleased to confirm that two cordons will open to residents only from 8am, allowing them to return home. The cordons are:

  • Kennedys Bush Road - 83 households
  • Hoon Hay Valley Road - 19 households.

What you need to know:

  • Residents will be checked in by police or army personnel.
  • You must present a photo ID, such as a driver’s licence or passport.
  • Please be patient if you face a wait at the cordon. Returning residents will be allowed through as soon as possible.

These roads are open to residents only. A firetruck on the Port Hills

This opening means residents will be able to return to their homes.

The recreational tracks at the top of Kennedys Bush Road will remain closed.

Remaining cordons

There are 52 properties which remain behind the cordons. These are as follows:

  • 329 Worsleys Road - 51 houses
  • Dyers Pass Road just below lower Victoria Park entrance - Nil
  • Dyers Pass Road – Governors Bay - Nil
  • Summit Road at Gebbies Pass - 1 house.

Update on Port Hills Fire – 10pm - Final update for Monday

Cordon Announcement

We are expecting to make an announcement about changes to two cordons tomorrow morning. The cordons concerned

  • Kennedys Bush Road
  • Hoon Hay Valley Road.

An announcement about these cordons will be in the first Tuesday update, about 6am.

Rockfall Hazards

Geotechnical experts have been identifying areas where there is heightened risk of rockfall following the fire.

Geotechnical engineer, Nick Charters, said forested areas had been extensively damaged both by the fire and by firefighting operations, particularly sluicing work.

Mr Charters said there was particular concern about rockfall hazards on the slopes above Dyers Pass Road and the Harry Ell Walkway.

Work would continue on Tuesday to relocate large boulders on the slopes above Dyers Pass Road. Mr Charters said holes had been excavated downhill from the boulders and it was hoped to release the boulders into those holes. However, some would fall on the road and the walkway.

He said dead or dying trees would continue to affect slope stability for some time.

Civil Defence Controller Dave Adamson said the increased risk of rockfall was one of the reasons hill recreation areas would remain closed.

This is the final update for Monday 20 February. The next update will be about 6am Tuesday morning.

Update 7:30 pm Monday 20 February

Fire hot spots

We are still receiving inquiries about the fire hazards beyond cordons in their area. For those people who would like to know more about where these hot spots are, we have uploaded a map below showing the situation as it stood at 6.30pm. 

Fire retardant

It is expected the mist will clear tomorrow, and if this happens, fire retardant will be dropped to reinforce containment lines.

Cordons

There is nothing new to report on the lifting of cordons. Civil Defence is as keen as anyone to get the cordons lifted and this will happen as soon as it is safe to do so. The risks are under constant review, with situation reports each morning and each afternoon. Thank you for your patience. 

Steve Askin - pilot

Today the funeral service was held for helicopter pilot Steve Askin, who died last Tuesday while fighting the fire. The thoughts of everyone involved with Civil Defence are with his family and friends.

Information Centre

The information centre located at Te Hapua:Halswell Centre has now closed. If you have any queries or requests for information please contact the Christchurch City Council call centre on 03 941 8999.

Urgent accommodation

Residents who are unable to return to their homes and need temporary accommodation can call Christchurch Civil Defence on 03 941 8803. A Christchurch Civil Defence staff member will assist residents to find an appropriate place to stay. Wherever possible we are asking that residents continue to stay with family and friends, so this service is available for those who need it most.

Weather/fog

Aircraft are still in operation over the Port Hills. However low cloud is currently restricting flight in some areas, particularly around the tops of the hills and at higher altitudes. The cloud is expected to clear by the early afternoon.

Rubbish collection

There is no rubbish collection today for anyone inside the cordon.

Power

Orion has made good progress with the restoration of services to homes and businesses affected by the Port Hills fires.

Orion crews have replaced 32 damaged power poles and restored power to 85 homes over the weekend.

As of Monday morning around 40 customers remained without power in the Port Hills area.

Restoring services to the remaining homes in the area will be a priority for the coming week, and will continue to be done progressively, as crews are given access by emergency services to the affected areas.

Each home and business premise will need to be checked to ensure power can be turned back on safely.

For updates on power outages around the city visit www.oriongroup.co.nz (external link) or call 03 363 9898 for more information.


Port Hills Fire - risk assessment report

Decisions have been based on detailed fire behaviour predictions. This has been documented in a scientific report used to support fire risk assessment for residents’ access, cordons and road closures. View a copy of the report [PDF, 83 KB].


Smoke above Vic Park

Access to properties within the Cordon

There is a process for people whose homes still remain behind cordons. They can register to gain access to their properties and collect essential supplies when it is safe to do so.

Access to properties within the cordon

 

 

 

The Fire Service

  • Ensure facilities are safe (Gas/Electricity/Oil). If any doubt, don’t switch on and contact a qualified tradesperson
  • If you suspect a gas leak call 111
  • Ensure flammable materials are kept away from buildings. Keep vegetation low and tidy close to buildings. Refer to FireSmart home owners manual (external link) [PDF 2.44MB] for more details
  • When you get back into your property, check your smoke alarms are working and that you have an escape plan. Refer to Fire Safety Advise - Inside your home (external link) for more details
  • If there are still power cuts at your property, use BBQ’s appropriately. Do not use indoors and check for gas leaks before use. Use torches rather than naked flames. 

Recreational Access to the Port Hills Area

Civil Defence is recommending no recreational activities, such as camping, cycling or picnics, take place within the yellow line on this map (external link) .

The yellow line boundary, which was modelled on the current fire situation and weather forecasts, shows where further fire spread and smoke could pose a risk and cause health concerns.

 It is important for non-residents to stay away from the marked area to allow access for emergency services who are working in this area. 

Visit the Canterbury District Health Board's website  (external link) for information on smoke inhalation. 

Fire ban

The National Rural Fire Authority has put a total fire ban in place from South Canterbury to Hurunui.

Metro bus

Please check the Metroinfo (external link) website for more information.

Road closures

Emergency Services continue to request that people stay well away from the area and off the roads so that they can do their job and keep people safe. The Christchurch Transport Operations Centre (CTOC) has released a list of closed roads and urged residents to respect the closures as emergency services battle the blazes.

Traffic updates available directly from Transport for Christchurch (external link) .

Fire update

No significant incidents or flare-ups were reported overnight.

Infra-red and thermal imaging drones are being used during the night and early mornings to check hot-spots. Darrin Woods, Principal Rural Fire Officer says, “I can’t understate the value of this technology. Drone footage and the thermal maps enable fire crews to directly target the hot-spots in areas that have been scanned.”

Twenty crews will continue to work today on strengthening the fire containment lines with heavy machinery, supported by helicopters and ground operations. 

Dangerous trees will continue to be removed throughout the day.

A State of Emergency is still in place over both Christchurch and Selwyn and will remain in place as long as necessary.

Cordons

The cordons at Worsleys Road, Kennedys Bush Road and Hoon Hay Valley Road, have been relaxed for residents only. There is still no access for members of the public. Rural fire has deemed that this is still an operational fire area and as such public safety remains a priority and access must remain restricted. 

Three hard cordons remain on Dyers Pass Road. One is at the bottom where it meets Governors Bay Road, however residents who live on the section up to the hairpin bend about halfway up to the Sign of the Kiwi are permitted access to their properties.

Dyers Pass Road is closed from this hairpin bend to the entrance of Victoria Park due to the fire risk and safety issues, preparations are underway to have the road open as soon as possible, after the risk mitigation work is completed.

Walking and cycling tracks

A reminder that Rapaki, Mt Vernon Shared Use and Mt Vernon Farm tracks have reopened. However, a number of tracks remain closed, visit the Council’s Parks web page for more information.

Interactive hot-spots map

Several people have reported difficulty viewing the interactive hot-spots map (external link) on Apple mobile devices. Minimising the legend may help you see the detail on the map. To do this, click on the small arrow at the top left of the legend panel.

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Contact

Phone Christchurch City Council on 03 941 8999 or 0800 800 169 03 941 8999
E-Mail Christchurch City Council newsline@ccc.govt.nz