Port Hills residents who have not been allowed to return home, will have temporary access to their property so they can collect essential items and check on pets today.

The good news comes after frustrated locals voiced irritation at a lack of detailed information over when they'll be able to get back into their homes at a meeting of around 400 people on Saturday morning.

Fire crews made significant progress tonight in assessing fire containment lines to create a secure buffer between the fire zone and local's houses, Civil Defence said in a statement.

Residents will be permitted temporary access to the cordoned zones between 9am and 11am to retrieve essential items only.

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Selwyn's Emergency Operations Centre will confirm if this managed access will go ahead at 8am, based on weather conditions and the level of risk of the fire to spread.

Access will be restricted to adult residents only and managed by police.

Civil Defence said access points will be located at 305 Kennedys Bush Rd and 51 Hoon Hay Valley Rd only.

Sign-in and compulsory briefing for Kennedys Bush Rd residents will happen at 8am for a 9am entry, whilst Hoon Hay Valley Rd residents will have to wait until 9am for a 10am entry.

Rural and urban fire crews have contained the fire around the 29 kilometre perimeter, which is now about 68 per cent controlled according to Civil Defence.

On Saturday, 20 fire crews continued to create a 20-metre fire-break with heavy machinery and by hand.

"Air operations also helped ground crew who were identifying hotpots and putting them out," Civil Defence said in a statement.

Three fixed-wing aircraft dropped about 60,000 litres of retardant today along the perimeter of the fire area, between Kennedys Bush Rd and Hoon Hay Valley Rd.

"If weather conditions remain favourable, another retardant drop will be made in the Marley's Hill area to strengthen the existing line around the Sugarloaf communications aerial," Civil Defence said.

A helicopter with monsoon bucket battles wild fires on the Port Hills. Photo / Martin HUnter
A helicopter with monsoon bucket battles wild fires on the Port Hills. Photo / Martin HUnter