Aerial footage shows Port Hills fire damage

Amazing aerial footage posted online shows the extent of the damage done in the Port Hills in Christchurch when fires ravaged the area this month.

Flying above the hills, the footage shows vast stretches of blackened earth where the blaze tore through last week.

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

"As long as hotspots 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," he said.

"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 Rd area, Hoon Hay Valley and Worsleys roads, above Dyers Pass Rd, in the Adventure Park and in the area above Governors Bay. However, hotspot activity is continuing to be seen in most areas.

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.

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.

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.

While Dyers Pass Rd 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 while the road surface is physically safe, 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 falls 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.

Information on hotspots and cordons can be found here.

- NZ Herald

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