Port Hills locals want Summit Road closed at night to keep arsonists away

A scrub fire that raced up the steep hillside of Christchurch's Port Hills on Wednesday night was a frightening sight for residents and crews who dealt with the effects of 2017's Port Hills blaze.

Fifteen fire trucks and four water trucks raced to the scene just off the Summit Rd, and battled for six hours overnight to contain the blaze.

Fire and Emergency Christchurch Area Commander Colin Russell said fires on the Port Hills are notoriously hard to manage.

"You've got to take into consideration the terrain up there - its steep, its hard work, grafting up and down hills in the dark."

By daybreak, a crew was left checking the hotspots and turning the ground over, with a fire investigation team trying to establish what caused this blaze to break out in a remote area in the middle of a fire ban.

Mr Russell said crews were treating the blaze as suspicious.

It's the second suspicious fire on the Port Hills in as many days, with crews called to put out a fire a few valleys over on Wednesday.

One nearby resident Newshub spoke to said he'd like to see the Summit Rd closed between the sign of the Kiwi and Gebbies pass at night to reduce the risk of anyone coming up and starting a fire.

Mr Russell says the people starting these fires are completely selfish.

"Think of the community and the impact its having - the volunteers that respond, the anxiousness of the residents around the area when anything fires up. The impact's huge."

One life was lost trying to contain the Port Hills fire in 2017, along with nine houses. Fire crews are trying to avoid a similar thing happening again this year.


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