Port Hills Fire Update Friday 17 February 2017 - 1230pm

Posted 17 Feb 2017 by GovtCCC Recommended Featured Popular





The cordon at the corner of Early Valley Road and Old Tai Tapu Road has been lifted. Access is available only from the north. A cordon remains in place to the south of this intersection because of continuing firefighting operations.

The lifting of this cordon and the earlier lifting of

Lifting cordons remains a high priority. We still hope to lift further cordons this afternoon. A map showing current cordons is available online at www.tfc.govt.nz. Cordons can be lifted only after full risk assessments have been completed. This work includes expert assessment of the fire hazard, the danger posed by damaged structures, environmental hazards such as asbestos, and geotechnical hazards caused by the loss of vegetation.





Agencies are working together to develop a process for residents whose homes have suffered severe or total damage to register their contact details. This afternoon we will be asking people to provide their contact details, the address of their damaged property and the reason they need to return. If their property is considered safe to visit, a time will be arranged for them to be taken in behind the cordon to visit their property for a short time, accompanied by a police officer and a fire officer. Visits will be prioritised according to urgency, based on the need to collect essential items such as medical supplies, to retrieve or provide care for pets or livestock, or to collect items essential for work or study. 



UPDATE from 12:30pm


A key priority for today is to develop a process to allow evacuated residents back into their homes where it is safe do so.


Planning is underway to reduce the cordoned area around the perimeter of the fire, and a decision on which cordons will be lifted is expected early this afternoon. A risk assessment is being done from the ground and in the air to map areas. Although there was drizzle this morning, wind is expected to increase this afternoon and any dampness will be dried out. There is still extreme heat in the ground and in vegetation which still poses a risk of flare ups.




One cordon on the perimeter of the Port Hills fire has now been lifted.

The cordon at the corner of Cashmere Road and Penruddock Rise has now been lifted and these residents only are able to return to their properties.  Access to the area is only available from the east.

All other cordons remain in place. Their status is being reviewed as risk assessment information becomes available. Cordons will be lifted only where it is safe to do so.

We hope to announce the lifting of some further cordons early this afternoon. 


Firefighting update


The fire at this stage is  largely contained but not yet controlled. The fire area is not expanding and firefighters have made great progress in putting in fire breaks around the perimeter of the fire area. Today we have diggers working in several areas to create fire breaks. In those areas that diggers can’t access we’re focusing on dropping fire retardant to stop the spread of the fire.  There’s still a lot of dry vegetation and areas of extreme heat within the fire ground, so there’s still a very real risk of flare-ups – especially with forecast north-east winds of up to 50km today.


Overall we’re starting to move from air-based to ground-based firefighting – water drops won’t put the fire out completely so we have to back that up with the heavy machinery to put fire breaks in and dig out the hot spots. That’s where a lot of our focus is today with diggers working at several locations, along with 15 helicopters and three fixed wing aircraft.



Cashmere Primary School is closed again today.

Kidsfirst Cashmere Kindergarten is closed today.


Bus services

Blue Line - all trips will end at Princess Margaret Hospital, no trips will travel to Cashmere Hill.

145 Westmorland to Eastgate - all trips will end and start their trips on Rose St until further notice.


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