State of Emergency extended: ‘The fire is not out’


The State of Emergency in Selwyn and Christchurch declared due to the Port Hills fire has been extended for seven days.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said it was an “automatic extension” and is likely to reviewed at a Friday morning meeting.

The initial State of Emergency decision was made last Wednesday, after two fires tore through 2075ha of the Port Hills, causing the evacuation of homes.

Though many have been able to return, civil defence controller Anne Columbus warned those who were evacuated should be ready to leave quickly.

“This is still an active fire –  residents going back should be ready to leave at a moments notice should it be required,” she said.

Forty-six homes are still unable to be accessed with restricted access expected in the next 24 hours.

Ms Dalziel said though the fire had been contained, it was a still a “serious situation”

“The fire is not out,” she said.

City council senior geotechnical engineer Ian Wright said he does not think there will need to be evacuations due to the risk of rockfall.

The warmer weather in Christchurch today – a high of 30 deg C expected – will actually help firefighters said Scion senior fire specialist Grant Pearce.

He said the hot weather will help identify hot spots later on Tuesday afternoon.

Fire crews have focused on dampening down hotspots at the Christchurch Adventure Park.

Crews are also focusing on hotspots in the Early Valley Rd, Hoon Hay Valley Rd and Worsleys Spur area with a 40-50 per cent reduction in fire activity from Monday.

Aerial drones may be trialed this evening by emergency services over the fire ground areas around the Worsleys Rd area and other locations as needed.

The drones are being trialed to gather thermal and infrared hotspot imaging information.

A reminder to the public that the no fly zone introduced previously remains in place for the area bound by Princess Margaret Hospital, Sugar Loaf, Teddington, and Tai Tapu until noon Friday.

Around 20 crews are continuing to work to install control lines using heavy machinery with support by helicopters.