Port Hills Fire update

Christchurch Civil Defence Update

Sunday 19 February 2017 

Media update#31

 Managed access to Hoon Hay Valley Road and Kennedys Bush Road.

 Around 120 residents are currently at their  Kennedys Bush properties after being granted access at the cordon this morning. The cordon opened at 9am.

Residents are also going through the Hoon Hay Valley Road cordon which opened at 10am.

Access through both Kennedys Bush and Hoon Hay Valley Road will remain open until noon. We extended the time recognising that the short notice of confirmation of today’s access and the difficulty some residents had to meet this deadline.

Residents still need to register to gain access.  The can be done today at the sign in points noted below.  The reason for signing in and out is so emergency services know who is beyond the cordon at any time.

Sign in points:

·         Kennedys Bush Road: 8am registration for 9am access at bottom of hill prior to access to Halswell Quarry off Kennedys Bush Road

·         Hoon Hay Valley Road: 9am registration for 10am access at cordon access point outside 51 Hoon Hay Valley Road

Residents will be required to sign in to receive vehicle access stickers and a safety briefing.  We will be ensuring all vehicles and occupants leave the cordoned area and they will be given a 15 minute warning of when the access will end.

People concerned about the welfare of their domestic animals, particularly dogs, who they had to leave behind when they were evacuated should provide these details to eoc.welfare@ccc.govt.nz

Six cordons remain in place with 150 properties still evacuated. We are constantly assessing the situation regarding these cordons

Worsley Road resident information

We are getting queries from Worsley Road residents wanting to access their properties. We will update them by noon if this is going to be possible. If access is allowed it may happen at short notice and there may be a time limit on how long it will be granted.

Firefighting Update

Roughly 150 fire crew have been dispatched, as efforts to extinguish the Port Hills blaze continue.

The fire is currently 68 per cent controlled, and Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority principal rural fire officer Richard McNamara says he hopes to bring aircraft numbers down over the next few days, to give crews a well-deserved break.

He says the winds are stronger today than previously, and a considerable amount of low cloud blankets the Port Hills. Wind direction and hot spots remain the primary risk factors

McNamara says 15 aircraft will be dispatched in total, made up of 12 helicopters, and 3 fixed wing water bombers.

We are working on a new map showing the hot spots and areas at greatest risk which will be made available as soon as we can.

 Port Hills closure

The Christchurch City Council has closed recreation areas of the Port Hills to the public due to ongoing safety risk. Restricted zones are for all tracks and open areas in the Port Hills, including Victoria Park and the Rapaki, Mt Vernon and Huntsbury tracks. Signage is on tracks. The restrictions are like to be in place for several weeks while fire crews extinguish the fires and all safety issues are dealt with.