Firefighters battle Christchurch Port Hills fire

updated By Te Ao - Māori News
Source / Newshub

Helicopters with monsoon buckets and more than 60 firefighters battled a large scrub fire overnight in the Port Hills above Hillsborough, Christchurch.

Emergency services were called to the area shortly after 11pm Friday.  At the height of the fire, 15 appliances and crews were deployed to combat the fire.

The fire is estimated to have burnt through an area of 25 to 30 hectares.

Around 40 houses were evacuated on Port Hills Road, Avoca Valley Road and Gilders Grove. There are no further plans for evacuations at this stage.

Residents evacuated from 10 properties along Port Hills Road were unable to return to their homes Saturday morning. However, in an update police have said that while Port Hills Road remains closed, all residents that were evacuated are now able to return to their homes.

Two helicopters were used today to assist ground crews and survey the site. Few flames were visible this morning.

Fire and Emergency NZ has positive leads on the cause of the fire and has located its origin.

Some residents have reported hearing fireworks before the fire.

Health authorities are concerned about the impact of smoke from the fire on the vulnerable. Medical Officer of Health Dr Cheryl Brunton has recommended that people affected by the smoke should close windows and doors, and reduce outdoor exercise.

"Air around this location is smoky and there is potential that sensitive groups – such as those with heart or lung conditions, pregnant women, young children and the elderly ­– may experience symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath or eye, nose and throat irritation."

“The advice to people experiencing any health issues from the Port Hills fires is to phone their own GP team for #carearoundtheclock​ 24/7,” Dr Brunton says.

“After hours, and when they're closed, a team or nurses is ready to take your call.”