Authorities have given the green light for 'managed access' to properties behind part of the Port Hills fire cordon.

And they have confirmed that the fire is now 68 per cent under control.

Fire cordons in Port Hills are being lifted, to give people a few hours' access to their homes.

It applies to properties on Kennedys Bush Road and Hoon Hay Road. Worsleys Road is still deemed unsafe.

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Newstalk ZB reporter Georgina Campbell said people were scrambling through the cordon to get essential belongings.

"A steady line of cars has streamed through with anxious residents behind the wheel - some of them are in the same clothes as when they evacuated.

"They'll have until midday before they're told to get back out, unless conditions change."

Residents living beyond cordons at Hoon Hay Valley Road and Kennedys Bush could this morning register to go back to their homes.

Kennedys Bush Road residents were asked to register by 8am registration for 9am access and Hoon Hay Valley Road at 9am for 10am access.

"We note that this is really short notice so there will be some flexibility for residents are running short of time," a Civil Defence spokesperson said.

"The access has been extended until noon today in recognition of how important it is for residents.

"Residents still need to register to gain access. The reason for signing in and out is so emergency services know who is beyond the cordon at any time."

Residents were being warned that they could face a wait at the cordon due to the volume

"Residents will be required to sign in to receive vehicle access stickers and a safety briefing.

"We will be ensuring all vehicles and occupants leave the cordoned area and they will be given a 15 minute warning of when the access will end."

Fire containment - 'significant progress'

More than 150 fire fighters are still working to extinguish the fire and hot spots.

Significant progress was made overnight to assess fire containment lines - the buffer between the fire zone and residential homes - on the Port Hills.

Incident Controller Richard McNamara said he hoped to bring aircraft numbers down over the next few days, to give crews a well-deserved break.

He says the winds are stronger today than previously, and a considerable amount of low cloud blankets the Port Hills.

McNamara says 15 aircraft will be dispatched in total, made up of 12 helicopters, and 3 fixed wing water bombers.

Civil Defence say the fire remains under control, but it is not yet out.

"Progress around the full perimeter of the fire indicates that it is 68 per cent controlled, which means either bare earth or blacked-out ground for 10 metres," a spokesperson said.

"Hot spots mean there is still a risk of flare ups, especially with winds and temperatures forecast to rise.

"Firefighting efforts today will continue to identify and put out hot spots and to conduct more drops of fire retardant, particularly in the Marley's Hill area to strengthen containment lines around Sugarloaf communications aerial."

Recreation areas shut down for several weeks

The Christchurch City Council has closed recreation areas of the Port Hills to the public due to ongoing safety risk.

Restricted zones are for all tracks and open areas in the Port Hills, including Victoria Park and the Rapaki, Mt Vernon and Huntsbury tracks.

Signage is on tracks.

The restrictions are like to be in place for several weeks while fire crews extinguish the fires and all safety issues are dealt with.