A criminal investigation into the deadly and devastating Port Hills fires earlier this year is continuing, following the release of a review into the emergency response.

Detective Inspector Greg Murton said in a statement that the police investigation has focused on the two separate fires on February 13 - the Early Valley Rd fire which started at about 5.40pm and the Marley Hill fire at about 7pm.

Earlier today the results of an independent operational review were released.

It found that there was a lack of co-operation between fire agencies and decisions made on the ground which contributed to the Port Hills fires raging out of control.

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A helicopter fighting the fires on the Port Hills on February 16. Photo / Supplied
A helicopter fighting the fires on the Port Hills on February 16. Photo / Supplied

Pilot Steve Askin, 38, a former SAS war hero, died when his helicopter crashed as he battled the fires near Sugar Loaf.

Some 11 homes and two sheds were also destroyed and more than 2000ha scorched.

Steven Askin died in a helicopter crash while fighting the Port Hills fires. Photo / Supplied
Steven Askin died in a helicopter crash while fighting the Port Hills fires. Photo / Supplied

Police said today that they considered the Marley Hill fire suspicious.

"It was not caused as a result of embers or anything else to do with the earlier fire," Murton said.

A person was also seen at the time at the site of where the fire commenced, police said.

"This fire is still under investigation, and is considered to have been a criminal act," Murton said.

The cause of the Early Valley Rd fire has been considered by specialist fire investigators to be "undetermined", with the various causes being considered.

"The most likely cause according to specialist fire investigators was that this fire was deliberately lit, although an electrical cause cannot be ruled out," Murton said, adding the police investigation into the Early Valley Rd fire also remains open.

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"The investigation team has relied heavily on the scene examinations of both fires by specialist arson investigators to determine the cause of both fires."

Satellite imagery shows the vast area of land which was charred by the devastating wildfires. Graphic / Deimos Imaging
Satellite imagery shows the vast area of land which was charred by the devastating wildfires. Graphic / Deimos Imaging

Police said they are continuing to talk with witnesses, fire specialists, and further inquiries identified in the Fire and Emergency NZ report into the Early Valley Rd fire.

Police are still appealing to the public for new information about either fire and encourage people to call Canterbury Police.