In a midday press conference, Prime Minister Bill English said experts were describing the Port Hills fire as “contained but not controlled”. According to the Christchurch City Council, he said there had been a “real sense of danger” particularly yesterday but the fire was now burning in a valley “somewhat away” from properties.
With the Port Hills fires still spreading, many tracks and recreation areas in the region are closed.
According to staff at the DOC office in Mahanui, virtually all tracks in the Port Hills are affected, and the area should be avoided.
The Christchurch City Council reports that the fire spans around 1800ha across the hills, with latest reports that it has now spread to the harbour side of Sugarloaf.
“Recreational mountain bikers, walkers and runners should stay off the Port Hills between the suburb of Huntsbury and Kennedy’s Bush,” the council states on their Facebook page.
“It is very important that the public stay clear of the fire and surrounding areas to allow emergency workers to do their jobs.”
About 450 properties have so far been evacuated due to the fire.
For a full list of track closures in the area, visit ccc.govt.nz/rec-and-sport/cycling-tracks/trackstatus.