Smoke from Christchurch fires to continue until the weekend


Academics talk about the Port Hills fire

Levels of air pollution in parts of Christchurch are now approaching those seen in many of Asia's biggest cities, due to the Port Hills fires.

Air quality levels in the city are now at least five times that recommended by the World Health Organisation.

The University of Canterbury's Geography Department took a reading from the top of the geography building in Fendalton this afternoon and found levels of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) similar to some of Asia's most polluted cities.

Smoke blanketing the hillside suburbs is likely to be at worse levels than Shanghai. Onlookers above Westmorland are ...

Smoke blanketing the hillside suburbs is likely to be at worse levels than Shanghai. Onlookers above Westmorland are moved on by police as flames leap out of a large pine plantation behind Worsleys Rd.

The department's reading was 100 micrograms per square metre, a reading confirmed by Environment Canterbury (ECan) this afternoon in Woolston. That means the level easily exceeds 100 closer to the fire.

Live: Christchurch fires emergency

* Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee 'perplexed' by response to Christchurch fires
Pilot who died fighting Christchurch fires was ex-SAS member David Steven Askin
Thick smoke triggers health warning
Lucky escape for Christchurch family home
Photos: Huge fires tear through Christchurch's Port Hills
Christchurch Port Hills ablaze


Fire in Christchurch Adventure Park mountainbike park.

Fire in Christchurch Adventure Park mountainbike park.


The World Health Organisation recommends cities have a level of no more than 20 micrograms of PM 2.5 per metre squared.

As of this afternoon the level of PM 2.5 in central Shanghai was 155.

A picture taken from Hays Bay just past Diamond Harbour at 4:45pm Wednesday.

A picture taken from Hays Bay just past Diamond Harbour at 4:45pm Wednesday.

University of Canterbury geography technician Justin Harrison said the university reading was not as high as it could be because Fendalton was some distance from the fire and the conditions at the top of the building lowered the number.

Ad Feedback

"The wind's blowing up here, again, that will be dropping the levels down, if we had still, calm conditions then we'd probably see those levels a bit higher as well."

The reason for the smoke is the new north-easterly wind, which is not only keeping the smoke over the city but also fuelling the fire as it increases in intensity.

Smoke everywhere at the Christchurch Adventure Park.

Smoke everywhere at the Christchurch Adventure Park.

PhD in fire simulation at the University of Canterbury Daisuke Seto says a further layer of wind higher up in the atmosphere was preventing the smoke from escaping the city.

"The north-earthly breeze is blowing the smoke that way, and the convection takes place and goes up, but then it looks like there's another layer of flow coming from the west, I believe. The convection looks like it's trying to punch through but the fire doesn't look that strong enough to penetrate the inversion layer on top."

The MetService says the prevailing north-easterly will stay in place until at least the weekend.

Massive fire front is blown over Worsleys Road into Happy Valley now consumed by the huge fire on the Port Hills.

Massive fire front is blown over Worsleys Road into Happy Valley now consumed by the huge fire on the Port Hills.

There's also very little hope of much rain in Christchurch for at least four days.

The MetService predicts there is not much chance of rain until Sunday. Some scattered rain can be expected on Saturday but the city will have to wait until Sunday for a decent downpour.

Harrison had advice for people living in the area:

"If you don't have the opportunity to get away from it, it's worthwhile covering your nose and face if there is thick smoke around, and just keep an eye on the news and health warnings that might be coming out."

The Canterbury District Health Board has advised any residents concerned about the impact of the smoke on their health to contact their GPs first.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey said for the "vast majority of people" the smoke carried no health risk though could irritate the eyes, nose, throat and airways and cause a tightness of the chest or difficulty breathing. 

"In healthy people, most symptoms disappear soon after exposure to smoke ends and do not cause long-term health problems."


 - Stuff


Ad Feedback
special offers

Bashed with metal pipe

Luke White was attacked by seven window washers and required stitches for his injuries.

Group of window washers stole a brain-injured Auckland man's sunglasses then beat him with a copper pipe.

Wait for NZ burial almost over

Jack Williams, pictured before going to war in Vietnam in the 1960s.

Aged just 20, Jack Williams died for his country in Vietnam. 48 years later, he's finally coming home.

Getting to the guts of the matter

Jan Robinson says it's vital to talk about gastrointestinal cancers even if they aren't very sexy.

"There's no sexy way to talk about it," says rectal cancer survivor.

Young, drunk, and in A&E

A new, at-risk, group of young female drinkers has emerged. (File photo)

Female drinkers under 25 being admitted to hospital more often than men their age, doctor says.


'I don't need 13 Reasons Why' video

270417. News. KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ. Aroha McKenzie lost her daughter, Jacinta, to suicide in 2015 and face a real ...

Mum reads a heartfelt open letter to teenage daughter who took her own life.

'They might harass me'

The backyard of Corrinne Oliver's home in Mauriceville after it caught fire on Thursday. The house became engulfed in ...

Woman who allegedly set fire to home of family who took her in now fears retribution.

Survival kits a 'recipe for disaster'

Emergency survival kit contents.

Consumer NZ finds pre-made survival kits lack key items or contain poor-quality gear.

Stepdad wanted to hit rapist more

A unnamed man from Paraparaumu has denied assaulting Jason Haward, who raped his 15-year-old stepdaughter.

He tells court: "I presume any father put into that situation would react in the same way."


A real Kaikoura 'cliffhanger' video

A digger working to clear SH1 near Kaikoura was buried by a slip.

Dramatic video shows a digger high up on a coastal cliff face, half-buried by a slip.

Dad an ex-All Black

A forensic tent at the Otepuni Ave address where Tuesday night's shooting took place.

The woman allegedly shot and killed by her cop husband was the daughter of former AB Bob Barber.

Court excuse note raises eyebrows


Note for a man on deception charges had appalling spelling and a suspicious logo.

Trio deny importing 5kg of ecstasy

Vladimir Turovsky, 32, Vadim Shkolnitski, 35, both from Russia, and Ganna Manchenko, 31, deny importing ecstasy into ...

Russians and Ukranian deny importing drug, which was seized at Christchurch Airport.


Ghost school to be demolished

The school has been unused for 13 years and will now be demolished - even derelict pool will go.

For 13 years it sat empty and derelict. Now, the school - with a rateable value of $2.54 million dollars - will be demolished.

Ref raids accounts

050711 NEWS. Robert Charles/Taranaki Daily News. Cheque/ cheque book. Money. Bank.

Colleagues blew the whistle on referee who swiped $13K and a video camera.

Health bosses eye prison growth

Waikeria Prison is earmarked to become the country's largest prison.

Growing inmate numbers and a new bill will test Waikato's health services.

Beach commute gets safer

NZTA central North Island regional Director Parekawhia Mclean and MP David Bennett on SH23.

Highway between Hamilton and Raglan is in line for $9m in safety improvements.


Kiwi dies in France

Beau St George, his fiancee Herminie Gouard  and their daughter, Joan.

The New Zealand man killed in car crash in France had Taranaki links and was weeks away from getting married.

McFarlane recovering

Long serving Waitara councillor Craig McFarlane is still recovering in hospital after suffering a stroke in February.

Council colleagues keen for deputy mayor to have time to recover

"Don't send me to jail"

A young man's heartfelt plea to a judge saw him receive home detention instead of jail for a raft of offences.

"I hate being in trouble and looking like a meat head, this behavior is not who I am," man tells judge.

Mystery pack 'rescued' 

An unusual search and rescue mission was launched on Mt Taranaki, after a backpack was left behind at Holly Hut.

A backpack left behind in a mountain hut had people thinking the worst.


A slushy success video

There's been plenty of water on the ice rink's surface.

Water on Palmerston North's ice rink doesn't put off thousands of skaters.

Fire ravages home

With a house ablaze, three people got out in time.

Three people escape a house fire in Roslyn, Palmerston North.

Motorcyclist dies

A man is dead following a motorcycle and tractor crash in Manawatu.

A man is dead after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a tractor in Manawatu.

We're stuck with the gorge

Drone shot of the 2017 Manawatu Gorge slip, blocking State Highway 3 at the Woodville end.

OPINION: Manawatu Gorge closures may be costly but the alternative options are even pricier.


Crash upsets the apple cart video

A stretch of the Coastal Highway near the intersection of Pukeko Lane was strewn with apples and boxes after a truck's ...

Traffic delays continue after cruck carrying thousands of apples spills load.

Guilty of murder

Philip Quayle died after being attacked on a street in Cairns, Australia, about 100 metres from home.

A man who choked a Nelson man to death during a random street attack in Cairns has been found guilty of murder.

Salisbury hopes with new minister

Salisbury School has been locked in a battle with the outgoing Education Minister since 2012.

Salisbury School hopes a change in Education Minister might help its case to stay open.

Rental costs surge

Median rental prices in Nelson have jumped to $380.

Nelsonians can now be expected to pay $380 for a rental property in the region.


A real Kaikoura 'cliffhanger' video

A digger working to clear SH1 near Kaikoura was buried by a slip.

Dramatic video shows a digger high up on a cliff face on the Kaikoura Coast, half-buried by a slip.

Air force keeps quiet

United States Air Force personnel in the Anzac parade on Tuesday.

Troops on the ground and planes in the sky, but little is known about US Air Force in Marlborough.

The lowdown

Co-owners Simone and Chris Hill with dog Sam

If you haven't yet popped into Cinnamon House Design in Blenheim, it's worth a visit.

The $500m quake bill

Road damage and closures was one of the big costs from the Kaikoura earthquakes.

The Kaikoura earthquakes are expected to cost New Zealand around half a billion dollars.

South Canterbury

Parents remember 'talented' son

Rowan Yeager died following a crash near Lake Ohau on Anzac Day. This photo, supplied by friend Andrew Weatherall, shows ...

Man killed in crash near Lake Ohau was just a week off moving into house he built by hand.

Strong winds lash SC

Police were called to the scene of a camper van crash on Friday afternoon, thought to be caused by the wind.

Tourists escape with minor injuries after two campers blown off road south of Tekapo.

'We have got a lot of work to do'

SCDHB chief executive Nigel Trainor says the DHB is going try and improve low rates of HPV vaccination by providing more ...

SC has a 'poor' HPV vaccination rate, prompting the DHB to turn to social media.

Judge sceptical of medical note


Judge questions medical note provided to excuse Timaru man from court appearance.


Shark attack video

The French tourist arrives at Dunedin Hospital by helicopter after she was attacked by a shark while bodyboarding in ...

A surfer has been attacked by a shark at a beach in the Catlins in Southland.

Struggle after shooting

Ben and Verity McLean.

Families say they're humbled by the outpouring of support and compassion.

Deputy mayor resigns

Cr Darren Ludlow.

Darren Ludlow has resigned as deputy mayor of Invercargill.

SDHB propose axing 23 jobs

Southern DHB chief executive Chris Fleming.

"There will be some people very positive about what we're proposing, and there will be some negativity."

Ad Feedback