Christchurch Port Hills fires: What you need to know on Thursday (Video)
Fires are continuing to rage in Christchurch. Here's what you need to know.
Christchurch Civil Defence says 11 homes have been destroyed. Four of the houses were on Worsleys Rd, four on Hoon Hay Valley Rd, one house and one shed were on Burkes Bush Rd, and two houses and one shed were lost on Early Valley Rd.
Firefighters battling the Port Hills blaze in Christchurch will get little help from rain into the end of the week, with MetService predicting only the odd spot for the city.
If you are at all worried or uncomfortable remaining in your home, please evacuate. You can go to any of the city welfare centres for assistance. So far 400 properties have been officially evacuated. That number has changed from the earlier figure of 450.
The fires have merged into one and now cover more than 2075 hectares, or 20.75 square kilometres.
* Live: Christchurch fires edge closer
* Smoke triggers health warning
* Brownlee slams belated response
* Governors Bay Bush destroyed
* 'Volatile' situation sparks evacuation
* In Pictures: Choppers battle blaze
* Smoke pollution 'as bad as Asia'
* Fires reach Victoria Park
* Wildfires visible from space
Fourteen helicopters and three fixed wing aircraft are involved in Thursday's aerial battle and come from around the South Island.
The Fire Service, Department of Conservation, territorial authorities and volunteers are fighting the blaze from the ground. Firefighters from Nelson and Timaru are also involved.
A total fire ban is now in place from South Canterbury through to the north end of the Hurunui District, including Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. Police warn the situation is extremely volatile.
Emergency services are preparing to keep fighting the blaze over the weekend. The emphasis will be on directing the flames away from people and property.
The 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 Summit Rd.
About 126 homes remain without power in Christchurch's Port Hills, and Orion is urging residents and businesses to conserve power. More than 80,000 homes lost power for about 30 minutes on Wednesday, but further outages were possible.
People are advised to stay away from the hills to allow emergency services access and ensure swift evacuation. Do not rubberneck.
If widespread evacuation is needed, emergency services will inform residents directly. No evacuations were under way as mid morning on Thursday, however people maybe told to leave their homes if the situation changes.
Prime Minister Bill English has cancelled his plans for the day and will fly to Christchurch.
Cashmere Primary School and Kidsfirst Cashmere Kindergarten are closed.
The Ministry of Education has been contacted for a full list of closures, but has yet to provide details. However, it did confirm Governor's Bay School was open, contrary to previous reports.
Hoon Hay is open, Cashmere High is open and West Spreydon is open.
All current police cordons in the Port Hills area for the fire emergency will remain in place for the night of the 16 February and it is likely they will stay in place until the Saturday 18 when it will be reaccessed.
Police earlier evacuated residents downhill of the Sign of the Takahe on Dyers Pass Rd as far as, and including, Kiteroa Pl and Pentre Terrace.
- Affected areas include:
- Dyers Pass Road into Victoria Park.
- Hoon Hay Valley Rd
- The south side of Cashmere Rd to Kennedys Bush Rd and to Hoon Hay Valley Rd.
- The Port Hills around Worsleys Rd and Cashmere Rd.
- Early Valley Rd.
- Kennedys Bush, and its intersecting streets are from Halswell Quarry up towards the end of Kennedys Bush Rd.
- Longhurst Tce.
See here for a map of evacuated areas.
Selwyn Events Centre in Lincoln
Te Hapua Halswell Centre, Halswell Rd (The library and pool at this centre remain open).
Nga Hau e Wha Marae, Pages Rd
There is also the Facebook page Evacuation Housing for evacuated residents to ask for help, and allow others to offer temporary accommodation to those evacuated.
The following roads are currently closed because of the Port Hills fire.
Please stay well away from these roads, so that emergency services can do their job and keep people safe.
- Cashmere Rd is closed at Hendersons Rd
- Cashmere Rd is closed at Kaiwara St
- Worsleys Rd is closed at Cashmere Rd
- Hoon Hay Valley Rd is closed at Cashmere Rd
- Kennedys Bush Road is closed at Cashmere Rd
- Sutherland Road is closed at Cashmere Rd
- Penruddock Rse is closed at Cashmere Rd
- Worsleys Track from Worlseys Road is closed
- Dyers Pass Road is closed between Hackthorne Road to Governors Bay Road. Use the Lyttelton Tunnel or Gebbies Pass as the alternate route.
- Summit Road is closed between Gebbies Pass and Rapaki Track
- Old Tai Tapu Road is closed between Osterholts Road and Early Valley Road
- Early Valley Road is closed at Old Tai Tapu Rd
- Holmes Road is closed at Old Tai Tapu Rd.
See here for a map of road closures
Due to the fire and evacuations all Metro bus Blue Line trips will end at Princess Margaret Hospital until further notice. No trips will run to the Cashmere Hill.
Due to the fire on the Port Hills all trips travelling to Westmorland will end their trips on Cashmere Road near Penruddock Rise. Bus trips will depart travelling towards Eastgate from stop 33348 on Cashmere Road instead. This is until further notice.
The Real Time Information system has been affected by the fires and a number of buses are unable to be tracked. This means some buses will not show in the "next bus" online tools and at bus stop electronic signs.
About 126 homes remain without power in Christchurch's Port Hills on Thursday, and lines company Orion said it was unsure went when power would be restored.
Power is being rerouted, including through Orion's new underground northern loop cable.
Orion has asked residents and businesses to conserve power where ever possible, to reduce the load on the network while it is in contingency mode.
A total fire ban is now in place from South Canterbury through to the north end of the Hurunui District, including Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.
The Canterbury District Health Board has reissued its advice for those concerned about the thick smoke billowing over parts of Christchurch.
Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Alistair Humphrey said the smoke would be unpleasant for most people, but carried no risk to their health.
Smoke may irritate the eyes, nose, throat and airways, and more serious symptoms could include a runny or sore nose, dry or sore throat, sore nose, cough, tightness of the chest, or difficulty breathing.
"Avoid exposure where possible by staying indoors and closing windows and doors," Humphrey said.
Most symptoms would disappear soon after the exposure to smoke ended, but medical treatment should be sought if symptoms worsened, especially for those with asthma, or lung or heart disease.
Call 111 in an emergency, but call your usual general practice team for all other health care needs.
ANIMALS AND PETS
- The South Island South Island Wildlife Hospital is ready to medically treat any injured wildlife. They can be contacted on 022 106 0170.
- SPCA Canterbury is working to help people find temporary accommodation for pets and other animals. They can be contacted on 03 349 7057