Port Hills update: Drizzly conditions reduce fire spread but limit firefighter access

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the story so far

  • Fires which started on Monday continue to burn on the Port Hills.
  • The fires are mainly hotspots contained within 2075 hectares as rain falls in Christchurch.
  • Risk of potential flare ups.
  • 11 homes, two shed destroyed.
  • 1 dead: Chopper pilot and ex-SAS soldier Steve Askin.
  • Further cordons lifted, allowing fire evacuees to return to their properties.
  • Tensions rose at a public meeting this morning were frustrated residents yelled at officials.

Civil Defence have released an image of the hotspots of the fire above and below the ground on the Port Hills. 

Imaging of the hotspots above and below ground at Port Hills.

Imaging of the hotspots above and below ground at Port Hills.

Source: 1 NEWS

A bigger version of the image can be found here

Drizzly conditions continue, which is reducing fire spread but also restricting access to some areas for firefighters.

Firefighters remain concerned about the area around Victoria Park and east of Dyers Pass Road and Marleys Hill electronic equipment. 

They are also concerned about the southern flank of the fire which has terrain and vegetation that can cause the fire to spread. 

Heavy machinery continues to create fire breaks and geotechnical experts are assessing the risk of rock-fall in areas where there has been a significant loss of vegetation. 

Port Hills fire public meeting 

Tensions rose and anger flared at a public meeting held in Christchurch for residents affected by the Port Hills fire this morning. 

Over 300 residents gather at the Port Hills fire public meeting.

Over 300 residents gather at the Port Hills fire public meeting.

Source: 1 NEWS

Around 400 residents attended the meeting and yelled at officials, asking for clarity on the current situation. 

One man has asked for specifics on where the hot spots are. 

"When will we be able to go home? Today, next week, next month?" he said. 

The audience has been told crews need more time to make decisions and have been unable to do aerial imaging, therefore are relying on crews on the ground. 

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has admitted they made some of the same communication issues made during the earthquake.

She says they will be looking at these processes. 

Richard McNamara, Rural Fire Incident controller has said they did everything they possibly could to save homes.

He said they were not going to put lives at risk to save brick. 

Cordons in place

Cordons at Dyers Pass Road, Victoria Park Road and Kennedy's Bush Road have been reviewed and moved back. 

Dyers Pass Road: the cordon is now above the last house on Dyers Pass Road, so above 236 Dyers Pass Road.

This means all residents in streets below these cordon points (including Longhurst Terrace and Pentre Terrace) can have access to their homes.

Victoria Park Road: there is now a cordon on Victoria Park Road above the last house on this road. Which is the entrance to Victoria Park.

Kennedys Bush Road: The cordon has been moved back so residents in houses up to, and including, houses at 299 and 304 Kennedy’s Bush Road, can now access their properties.

Cordons remain in place in Worsleys Road, and the top of Huntsbury Avenue. 

"Safety is paramount and access can only be made available when Fire Service determines the risk to be at an acceptable level," a statement from Civil Defence said this morning.

Police and NZ Defence Force are patrolling the cordoned areas while fire crews have been working around the 29km perimeter of the fire making sure it is contained and prepared for the application of the fire retardant today.

It's a time for containment along the perimeter of the giant Port Hills fire.
Source: 1 NEWS

While a number of cordons remain in place, hundreds of Christchurch fire evacuees were able to return to their homes last night as several cordons were lifted.

Cordons along Cashmere Road were removed after 10pm, at the intersections with Shalamar Drive, Worsleys Road, Opihi Street, Hendersons Road and Sutherlands Road.

Through risk assessment, the cordon at the corner of Dyers Pass Road and Hackthorne Road, near Cup Café, has also been removed.

People now have access up to the Sign of the Takahe including roads such as Takahe Drive.

Cordons remain in place in Christchurch.

Source: Christchurch City Council

100 registrations have been received for residents to gain access to their property to collect critical items, such as checking on animals. 

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