Port Hills fire latest: Suppression efforts continue, some cordons remain in place

A firefighter dampens down hot spots in the Port Hills on Friday. Photo / Alan Gibson
A firefighter dampens down hot spots in the Port Hills on Friday. Photo / Alan Gibson

Firefighters are continuing to make progress in the Port Hills, almost a week since two devastating fires began in the hills above Christchurch.

Twenty fire crews are continuing to work to reduce the risk associated with hotspots.

The crews are utilising control lines using heavy machinery with helicopter air support.

The perimeter of the fire area is about 35km.

It's expected a mist over the Port Hills will clear tomorrow and allow firefighters to drop fire retardant to reinforce containment lines.

In a statement by the Christchurch Emergency Operations Centre and Civil Defence Fire, modelling indicates significant potential for fires to spread if there is a breakout during the next few days.

"Work was undertaken to identify hotspots with thermal imaging scanning from the air this morning," the statement read.

"This showed there continues to be deep-seated activity at various locations in the fire ground, and unburnt vegetation at some locations."

Portable weather stations are also being installed to gather information for fire-risk assessments.

Trees are also being removed, due to a high risk of falling from fire damage.

Christchurch Civil Defence said the fire area is described as remaining at 2075ha.

Fire Incident Controller Richard McNamara declared the fire "controlled" last night, and said suppression efforts are continuing.

This includes in the area above Dyers Pass Rd, below Sign of the Kiwi into Victoria Park, in and around Sugar Loaf, the area around Marleys Hill and the southern flank of the fire, according to today's update.

"Significant progress is being made in establishing appropriate firebreaks."

The blaze destroyed 11 homes and caused thousands to evacuate their homes. War hero helicopter pilot Steve Askin also died when his Squirrel crashed while battling the fires.

Several cordons remain in place, and others have been eased, as at 4pm today.

These are:

● Upper Dyers Pass Road: The cordon is now above the last house on Dyers Pass Rd, so above 236 Dyers Pass Rd. This means all residents in streets below these cordon points, including Longhurst Tce and Pentre Tce, have access to their homes.

● Dyers Pass Rd at Governor's Bay Rd. Only residents are allowed access between this cordon and the final cordon at 555 Dyers Pass Rd.

● There is now a cordon on Victoria Park Rd above the last house on this road, which is the entrance to Victoria Park.

● Kennedys Bush Rd: Residents in houses up to, and including, houses at 299 and 304 Kennedys Bush Rd, can now access their properties.

● Properties up to and including 327 Worsleys Rd can be accessed

● There is a cordon at Summit Rd, at the intersection of Gebbies Pass Rd, which means none of the western section of Summit Rd is accessible

● There is also a cordon at Hoon Hay Valley Rd, at the intersection of Cashmere Rd, meaning all of Hoon Hay Valley Rd remains closed to the public.

- NZ Herald

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