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Update on Port Hills Fire 10pm

Christchurch Civil Defence Update #16 Thursday 16 February 2017 Update on Port Hills Fire 10pm

Key points

• Fifteen crew from United States Coast Guard heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star are assisting

• Hercules expected to arrive in Christchurch on Friday from Australia with fire retardant

• The fire covers an area of 2075 hectares

• About 400 houses and about 1000 people have been evacuated

• 11 people are staying at the welfare centre at Te Hapua Halswell Centre

• Cordons remain in place with police and Defence Force staff patrolling

Firefighters will use thermal-imaging technology and high-pressure hoses to manage hotspots within the Port Hills fire overnight.

Christchurch Civil Defence controller Dave Adamson said the nearly 400 firefighters working to control the blaze on Thursday had made good progress, helped in part by more favourable weather conditions.

“We have had significant fire breaks created with heavy machinery and the firefighting effort has targeted the perimeter. While there are still areas burning out of control, the fire is contained within the 2075 hectare area.

“What’s encouraging is that the weather forecast looks promising for the next two days with high cloud, cooler temperatures and a chance of rain on Saturday. However, the situation remains volatile, as we’ve seen with some reported flare-ups, including one on Kennedy’s Bush Road, so the cordons remain in place to ensure personal safety and security of property.”

There are 11 people staying at the welfare centre at Te Hapua Halswell Centre.

Fifteen crew from the United States Coast Guard heavy icebreaker USCGC Polar Star are assisting police and the New Zealand Defence Force in the evacuated areas.

Another 31 police are due to arrive in Christchurch on Friday.

Orion reports that as at 7.45pm there were 126 customers still without power. Some supplies are expected to be restored overnight.

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