NZ: Homes evacuated as Christchurch Port Hills fires rage out of control
line of Defence
the Port Hills fires are fought from land and air, police warn they
can change direction and move incredibly quickly - people should be
ready to evacuate, and not go to the area to look or take photos
you need to know:
Homes have been destroyed by a raging fire which continued to burn
overnight, jumping into Victoria Park and spreading to around 1850ha
least 450 homes have been officially evacuated. Many others have
state of civil emergency has been declared in Christchurch and Selwyn
you are at all worried or uncomfortable remaining in your home,
are advised to stay away from the hills to allow emergency services
access and ensure swift evacuation
Primary is closed.
did it start?
first fire — believed to have been caused by an electrical
problem — began on Monday, along Early Valley
Rd in Lansdowne. By 7pm, crews were battling a second
blaze on Marley's Hill, south of the city. Authorities don't
know how that blaze began, but believe it started in a car park off
Library 2. Selwyn
Events Centre in Lincoln 3. Te
Hapua Halswell Centre, Halswell Rd 4. Nga
Hau e Wha Marae, Pages Rd 5. There's
also a Facebook page, Evacuation
for evacuated residents to ask for help, and for people to offer
temporary accommodation to those evacuated.
house that just caught fire ... that's our house"
man who watched the Port Hills fire raze his family home this morning
says he doesn't want to believe the devastation is real.
Reese, 22, and his family were evacuated from the home his parents
have lived in for 25 years about 3pm yesterday and saw their
neighbours' home burn to the ground about 6pm.
daylight broke this morning RNZ was there as Mr Reese watched the
Worsleys Road house go up in flames at about 7.45am.
Reese, centre, watches his family home burn. Photo: RNZ /
house that just caught fire about 10 mins ago is our house," he
said. "It survived the night and then no choppers [were] up
there in the morning and obviously a little fire started up and there
was no-one there [to protect it]."
now it looks like our house is getting destroyed. It's a bit of a
shame, quite a big shame… It's quite a beautiful family house."
the phone to his family, Mr Reese told them if they arrived quickly
they would be able to see the last part of their house before the
flames finished it off.
still hard to believe. I barely trust myself that that's our house
but it certainly looks that way. I don't want to believe it."
when we were evacuated, we didn't think this would be the last time
in this house. Can't believe it," he said.
Christchurch homes were evacuated this morning as a huge fire burned
on the Port Hills, and at least five helicopters with monsoon buckets
were dispatched at first light.
Port Hills fire near Christchurch Adventure Park this
morning. Photo: RNZ / Joelle Daly
local state of emergency was declared by Christchurch City Council
and Selwyn District Council yesterday evening.
the two main fires merged into one large blaze in excess of 1850
hectares and was growing. Latest reports that it has now spread to
the harbour side of Sugarloaf.
this morning evacuated homes downhill of the Sign of the Takahe on
Dyers Pass Road.
Ellwood, who lives on Dyers Pass Rd near the Sign of the Takahe, was
told to leave home about 4.30am.
and his wife put their two cats, three chickens and two children in
their cars and parked up at a petrol station.
the important things, we got," he said.
inspector Derek Erasmus said the force of the fire overnight was
exploding, long lines of fire ... across hillsides. Looking at what
the fire service were doing, an incredibly difficult and dangerous
job for them."
said 85 extra army and police staff were brought in overnight to help
with monsoon buckets and ground crews are tackling a blaze close to a
house at the top of Worsleys Road. Photo: RNZ / Joelle Daly
Bay School and Cashmere Primary School are closed. Cashmere principal
Gavin Burn said for families with a lot going on the decision was to
create certainty, so they know where their children are.
100 houses are without electricity power this morning. Lines company
Orion said the focus today was on ensuring the power supply to water
pumping stations near the fire to keep the water pressure up.
major pylon circuits that cross the Port Hills are out but an
underground loop cable commissioned in the last year is keeping up
the power supply to the city, it said.
civil defence controller Dave Adamson told Morning Report the
weather forecast was not good for firefighting, with winds expected
to develop this afternoon.
there were shifts in wind direction other areas could be in the line
of the fire.
450 houses have been evacuated with anything up to 1000 people having
left their homes, he said. Parts of Cashmere Hills, Westmorland,
Cracroft and Early Valley Road were evacuated last night.
houses are believed to have been damaged by the fire since yesterday,
on Early Valley Road and Worsley Road, civil defence said. That was
an update to a civil defence report last night that three homes had
been destroyed on Worsley Spur in addition to five confirmed
destroyed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
leap close to a house in the Port Hills. Photo: Supplied /
Fire Service said a total of 15 helicopters and two fixed-wing
aircraft will be used to fight the fire from the air today, and more
than 200 firefighters will be on the ground.
fire ban has been brought in from South Canterbury to Hurunui as
resources are put towards tackling the Port Hills blaze.
on the scene as the fire burns and evacuations continue. Photo: RNZ
/ Conan Young
Civil Defence Minister, head to Christchurch
Minister Bill English has cancelled his events today to fly to
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee, who heading to Christchurch, said
the situation was "getting pretty serious".
requirement to get that fire out is even more pressing than at any
point in the last couple of days."
a state of emergency had been "a little slow" but once it
had been done, the civil defence response was okay, he told Morning
Report. Firefighters and others are doing great work in
people out there fighting the fire are very brave people."
Brownlee is expected to meet the mayors of Selwyn and Christchurch
this morning and be briefed on the emergency response.
fire engine speeds through Christchurch as smoke billows from the
Port Hills fire. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young
Harding Brown and his wife Deborah left their Kennedys Bush Road
house twice - first on Monday night and again last night - and were
waiting at the bottom of the road to be allowed back home.
fire on Monday night was one hill over from their home. Last night it
was 200-300m from the end of the road.