Christchurch fires: State of emergency remains in place

Photo/ Christchurch City Council

More than 1000 residents in the Port Hills area of Christchurch have evacuated their homes, as fires continue to destroy hundreds of hectares of land.  

It's being reported that the fire now spans around 1800 hectares throughout the hills, with latest reports saying it has now spread to the harbour side of Sugarloaf. 

120 homes are without power and a number of roads around the area remain closed. 

Christchurch Civil Defence says seven homes are believed to have been destroyed or damaged since yesterday on Early Valley Road and Worsley Road. 

Police are now evacuating residents on Dyers Pass Road as far as and including Kiteroa Place and Pentre Terrace. 

They're also continuing to urge non-residents and people in the area to stay away so that that emergency services can focus on the task at hand. 

A total fire ban is now in place from South Canterbury through to the north end of the Hurunui District. 

Christchurch Civil Defence Controller David Adamson says there has been a phenomenal amount of ground staff working through the night, with addition crews set to continue the effort from day break.

“The fire now spans a large front and all agencies are coordinating very well to fight the blaze and support the community. However, the situation remains very serious. Police and the Defence Force have had a huge job overnight with evacuations, the setting-up of cordons around key areas and security patrols of areas that have been evacuated.”

The police are stressing that it is imperative that members of the public keep away from the hills. People “rubber-necking” are disrupting the emergency response and making it harder for police and fire services to do their jobs.

The public is encouraged to follow official updates on the ChristchurchCity Council’s Newsline website and social media, as well as other emergency services updates.

An update provided on the Canterbury Weather Updates Facebok page says conditions are favourable at this stage with minimal low cloud cover, cool temperatures and calm conditions. However, fresh to strong North Easterly winds are expected from 11am. 

The Metservice says Christchurch can expect another clear day, with a high of 21 degrees. Light rain is possible from 5pm tomorrow.