Urgent fire evacuation warning for Christchurch residents

  • 15/02/2017

What you need to know:

  • Several houses have been destroyed
  • The fire has crossed Dyers Pass Road into Victoria Park
  • A state of emergency has been declared and the Defence Force called in
  • Helicopters have been stood down
  • If you're at all worried, ring 111 and self evacuate. Don't wait until someone knocks on your door.

Evacuated areas:

  • South side of Cashmere Rd to Kennedy's Bush Rd and to Hoon Hay Valley Rd
  • Residents in the area from the Sign of the Takehe to Victoria Park
  • Several hundred people have been officially evacuated from homes in Long Hurst Terrace, Worsley Rd, Cracroft, the bottom of Hoon Hay Valley Rd and the Westmorland area
  • Hundreds of others across the hills have self-evacuated as the fire spreads.

Where to go:

  • Welfare centres for evacuated residents have been set up at Te Hāpua Halswell Centre on Halswell Rd, Ngā Hau e Whā National Marae on Pages Rd and the Selwyn Events centre on Meijer Dr.
port hills fire christchurch (Newshub.)
(Emma Cropper / Newshub.)

Urgent evacuation warning

The Christchurch City Council has issued an urgent update warning residents in the area from the Sign of the Takehe to Victoria Park should evacuate their homes.

The fire has crossed Dyers Pass Road into Victoria Park. Police and the Defence Force are evacuating properties.

The south side of Cashmere Road to Kennedy's Bush Road and to Hoon Hay Valley Road is also being evacuated.

Other residents living close to the Port Hills fires have been warned to prepare to evacuate at short notice.

The Marley Hill fire has spread extensively down Worsley Spur and is approaching the residential area of Westmorland, and the Early Valley Road fire area is also growing.

Three houses have been destroyed on Hoon Hay Valley Road on Wednesday afternoon, and one house was destroyed on Old Tai Tapu Road earlier on Wednesday.

It brings the total number of houses destroyed to five.

Kordia's communication's facility is also under threat from the fires - potentially cutting off television and radio access to Christchurch.

"Kordia's transmission site located at the summit of Sugarloaf, which provides a number of services including television and radio for the Christchurch area, is currently under significant threat by the Port Hills fire," says Kordia Group CEO Scott Bartlett.

"As a result, Kordia has activated its disaster recovery plans and is working with its customers to prepare for the worst."

A state of emergency has been declared in Christchurch City and Selwyn District, the areas' mayors have announced, but Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says it's come too late.

The declaration follows the evacuation of around 300 residents on the outskirts of the city.

Both Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Selwyn District Mayor Sam Broughton said the city needs to band together to ensure the safety and welfare of residents.

"Christchurch needs a multi-agency response given the seriousness of the situation. We need to be able to draw on all the resources possible to give our residents confidence in the ongoing response," Ms Dalziel says.

But Mr Brownlee told Newshub he was concerned Civil Defence was not "crisp enough" after Kaikoura and this was another prime example.

He said Defence Force logistics officers had been in Christchurch today to see what was needed and larger numbers had been activated.

Houses on Kennedys Bush Road and its intersecting streets are being evacuated from Halswell Quarry up towards the end of Kennedys Bush Road. Those who have left their homes should head to Halswell Library.