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Christchurch Port Hills fires: What you need to know

Two major wildfires continue to burn across Port Hills area. Fire crews from around the region have been drafted in to fight the blaze which is in its third day.

States of Emergency were declared in both Christchurch City and Selwyn Districts at 6pm.

Marley's Hill Fire

This fire started in a car park around 7pm on Monday near the Summit Rd and quickly spread west along the road overnight.

Last night it escalated after midnight on a wind change. The fire has now progressed downhill through the forest to below the power lines.

It threatened homes in the Allandale district, but evacuted residents returned home this afternoon.

Early Valley Fire

This blaze started on Monday at 6pm and has destroyed one home.

Although it initially crossed the Summit Rd and threatened the Kennedy's Bush area and other points it has been contained.

Around 120 personnel are fighting both fires, including defence forces, as well as 12 helicopters, one airplane and several tankers.

Firefighters expect to be working on the fires for another 48-72 hours.

Today 15 helicopters and two aircraft were operating at three locations.

Fifteen fire crews, with 120 firefighters and support crew, were involved in ground operations this morning.

Six New Zealand Defence Force firefighters were also helping, and Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said more personnel and equipment would join the effort.

Both fires cover 580ha.

Firefighters are at the Christchurch Adventure Park, however the fire has not yet reached the village.

Christchurch City Council has now set up an Emergency Operations Centre.

Evacuations

Up to 300 residents were evacuated late this afternoon from Worsley Rd, Cracroft, the bottom of Hoon Hay Valley Rd and the Westmorland area. ​

Residents of houses on Kennedys Bush Rd and its intersecting streets were also being evacuated late afternoon. Evacuations were taking place from Halswell Quarry up towards the end of Kennedys Bush Rd.

Six houses were evacuated in Governors Bay overnight Tuesday.

Geotech experts are assessing the rockfall hazard over Governors Bay and Allandale, while air space had been restricted to allow fire-fighting planes free access to the area.

Road Closures

Many roads through the Port Hills are now off limits to traffic and people have been asked to keep well clear of the area.

Road closures are as follows:

​Worsleys Rd is closed from Cashmere Rd to all traffic and residents - police checkpoint in place.

Hoon Hay Valley Rd closed to traffic - residents can access properties.

Kennedys Bush Rd is closed form the roundabout with Rock Hill Drive. This includes the southbound cycle track.

Worsleys Track from Worlseys Rd is closed.

Dyers Pass Rd is closed between Hackthorne Rd to Governors Bay Rd. Use the Lyttelton Tunnel or Gebbies Pass as the alternate route.

Summit Rd is closed between Gebbies Pass and Rapaki Track.

Old Tai Tapu Rd is closed between Osterholts Rd and Early Valley Rd.
Early Valley Rd is closed.

Holmes Rd is closed.

Power outages

Almost 90,000 homes lost power for a short time this afternoon, due to the fires.

Orion warned Christchurch residents to prepare for possible outages overnight.

Residents in the Port Hills should take particular care around electricity.

Updates on outages are available by calling (03) 363 9898 or at www.oriongroup.co.nz

Health warnings over smoke

Canterbury District Health Board has issued a health warning, telling people to stay indoors to avoid being affected by the smoke.

The health warning is for all residents near the fires, but most at risk were smokers, the elderly, children and those with heart disease, asthma or other lung disease.

Smoke may irritate the eyes, nose, throat and airways. Symptoms can include runny or sore eyes, dry or sore throat, sore nose, cough, tightness of the chest or difficulty breathing. Seek medical help if you are affected.

- Additional reporting: Christchurch Star

- NZ Herald

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