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Waikari Valley And Port Hills Fire Updates

Waikari Valley

Five helicopters and around 50 firefighters are continuing to work to bring the vegetation fire in Waikari Valley in North Canterbury under control this morning.

The fast-moving fire started around 8pm on Sunday, with evacuations taking place on Shell Rock Road and Glenmark Drive.

This morning ground crews are strengthening the containment line while the helicopters work from the air.

The fire is currently uncontrolled and has largely burned out, but remains a risk due to high winds.

There have been no reported livestock losses, or any structures lost or damaged.

Fire and Emergency is working with displaced residents and farmers, and hope to return them to their homes as soon as possible.

A community meeting will be held at 9am at the Waipara Community Hall.

Port Hills

Firefighting efforts on the Port Hills are continuing, with the focus on eliminating hotspots and strengthening the containment lines.

Fire and Emergency’s specialist drone team carried out a second night of thermal imaging and identified a further 30 hotspots that crews are targeting today.

Incident Controller Steve Kennedy says that the intention is to strengthen any vulnerable points around the perimeter and continue extinguishing deep seated fires in several old forestry skid sites before the wind strengthens this afternoon.

Today is flagged as a high fire danger day across Canterbury because of the windy and hot conditions, and Steve Kennedy says that means any new fires will move very quickly and be hard to bring under control.

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"We have the resources to respond to multiple incidents, but we’re asking everyone to do their part to prevent any more fires starting." This means avoiding high-risk activities that generate sparks, or waiting until the coolest part of the day. High-risk activities include:

  • Using equipment that generate sparks, or where blades can strike a stone and cause a spark (eg welders, grinders, mowers, chainsaws).
  • Parking vehicles in long grass - hot exhausts can start a fire.

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