Four more weeks on the Port Hills for firefighters

Christchurch City Council

A flyover of the fire area shows the extent of damage following the Port Hills fire.

The battle to extinguish the Port Hills fire could last another month, with many more hotspots yet to be discovered, according to Christchurch's principal rural fire officer.

Potentially hundreds of hot spots could still be burning across the Port Hills. Thermal imaging has so far focused on areas near or threatening properties.

Christchurch principal rural fire officer Darrin Woods said that while 95 per cent of the fire perimeter was controlled, a "pretty low" percentage of the 2075 hectares of affected area had been thermal imaged.

Firefighters will remain on the Port Hills for up to four weeks, dousing hot spots. Photos from Christchurch City ...
CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL

Firefighters will remain on the Port Hills for up to four weeks, dousing hot spots. Photos from Christchurch City Council show the extent of the fire, including this one of Cass Peak and its radar dome.

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"As we finish up in those areas and move on to other parts of the fire area, we are going to find more and more hot spots rather than less or less," Woods said.

"We are certainly planning that we could be there for up to four weeks."

The Christchurch Adventure Park village sits in the valley on the left of this ridge.
Christchurch City Council Newsli

The Christchurch Adventure Park village sits in the valley on the left of this ridge.

The Port Hills fire started on Monday February 13, destroying nine homes and damaging many more. The fire started near Early Valley Rd and another blaze started near Marleys Hill later the same evening. 

Almost two weeks after sparks first flew, twenty crews continue to work on the Port Hills to strengthen containment lines, assisted by helicopters and heavy machinery.

"The reality is that with this particular fire we can't afford to leave anything burning within the fire's perimeter," Woods said.

Exposed tracks at the Christchurch Adventure Park. Cracroft Chase vineyard can be seen in the top right.
Christchurch City Council Newsli

Exposed tracks at the Christchurch Adventure Park. Cracroft Chase vineyard can be seen in the top right.

Significant rain remained the best chance of speeding up the firefighting process.

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"With ongoing firefighting activities in this area it is likely some access restrictions will remain in place."

Resident meetings were held by Civil Defence on Thursday evening at Kennedys Bush Rd, Worsleys Rd and Hoon Hay Valley Rd to address concerns and supply information. 

New photos show how far over the Port Hills the fire reached. Pictured here are the hills above Governors Bay.
Christchurch City Council Newsli

New photos show how far over the Port Hills the fire reached. Pictured here are the hills above Governors Bay.

A statement from Civil Defence said those areas remained "an operational fire area", with public safety still a priority.

A cordon remained in place on Dyers Pass Rd from the entrance to Victoria Park to the intersection with Governors Bay Rd.

"There has been considerable damage to not only the road infrastructure but also to the surrounding terrain above the road and it is considered there is an increased risk of rock-fall," the statement said.

New photos from Christchurch City Council show the extent of the Port Hills fire.
Christchurch City Council Newsli

New photos from Christchurch City Council show the extent of the Port Hills fire.

There was no confirmed time frame for the removal of the cordon.

 

Homes surrounded by blackened paddocks on Worsleys Spur.
Christchurch City Council Newsli

Homes surrounded by blackened paddocks on Worsleys Spur.

 - Stuff

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