Latest on Port Hills fire - Friday, February 16

Officials say the fire on Christchurch's Port Hills that forced more than 100 households to evacuate is now 70 percent contained.

But residents are warned significant smoke will still be coming from the fire and could be more noticeable across the city on Friday.

What you need to know:

  • A state of emergency remains in place
  • One home has been destroyed
  • The size of the blaze is about 650 hectares
  • People have been asked to stay away from Port Hills and stay off nearby roads
  • Residents should keep windows and doors shut, Te Whatu Ora says. Pets should also be kept inside inside. Look out for children, older people and others at risk, Health New Zealand says.

This is article is no longer being updated regularly. More on Newshub Live at 6pm.

3:20pm - Fire and Emergency says residents will have controlled access to Worsleys Road up to 358 Worsleys Road from 3pm.

This means the majority of residents will be back in their homes tonight, with a small number around Summit Road still evacuated.

"The road will only be open to residents - this includes those on foot or cycling. Residents will need to come to the bottom of Worsleys Hill and have their ID to gain access to the road," a spokesperson said.

"Residents are urged to exercise caution and be aware that firefighting activities will be continuing, with fire trucks frequently passing up and down the road."

Residents should be prepared to evacuate again at short notice, including having a bag ready to go with clothes, medication or anything else they may need, and a plan for pets and animals.

"Please avoid the Port Hills mountain bike and walking tracks this weekend as our crews will be working around these areas throughout Saturday and Sunday," the spokesperson added.

12:12pm - The Christchurch City Council says the number of evacuated homes sits at about 30 - down from 110.

11:01am - Ninety-five firefighters with 22 appliances, 12 helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft are continuing to tackle the blaze.

"Today we are going to hit it hard with a bigger number of firefighters to really focus on strengthening fire breaks. It is still very much an active fire ground with heavy machinery and helicopters at work," FENZ incident commander Dave Stackhouse says.

"Firefighters are working incredibly hard to get to a position where we can allow residents to return to their homes and get some normality, and this remains our priority.

"Today there will be a heavy presence on the Summit Rd and Worsley Spur as crews focus on containing the fire."

10:13am - Christchurch City Mayor Phil Mauger also spoke at the earlier press conference.

"We went out early, we hit it hard and it's great but we mustn't take our foot off the throttle because there's still a long way to go," he said. "It could take days, it could take weeks to get the hot spots out of it."

9:45am - Erik Devos, who owns the Sign of the Kiwi cafe on the Port Hills, tells RNZ his property is unscathed and is hopeful of reopening today.

9:15am - During the earlier news briefing, Fire and Emergency's Dave Stackhouse warned against complacency.

"We can't just sit on our laurels - we have to keep the pressure on and really nail this thing," he says.

"You will see smoke drift today but not as bad as it has been in the last few days... [it's] a lot better today."

8:53am - That concludes the press conference.

8:53am - Civil Defence says less than 80 properties remain evacuated today.

8:47am - FENZ's Stackhouse says he's not aware of any stock losses from the blaze so far.

8:46am - Asked if the fire could be suspicious, Stackhouse says he doesn't want to pre-determine any outcome of the investigation - which remains ongoing.

8:44am - FENZ's Dave Stackhouse says the number of properties lost in the blaze stands at one.

8:42am - Christchurch City Mayor Phil Mauger tells reporters "it could take weeks" to fully extinguish the fire.

8:40am - Emergency Management Minister Mark Mitchell is speaking now and reiterates his thanks to those tackling the fire.

Latest on Port Hills fire - Friday, February 16
Photo credit: Warren Armstrong/Newshub.

8:37am - Insp Ash Tabb says the cause of the fire remains unconfirmed and investigations are ongoing.

8:34am - Fire and Emergency district manager Dave Stackhouse tells reporters the Port Hills' Summit Rd remains an area of concern.

He says the fire is now 70 percent contained.

8:31am - A news briefing with the latest on the fire is getting underway - watch it live in the video above.

8:28am - Civil Defence says smoke is becoming more noticeable across Christchurch today due to a southerly change in the weather.

8am - The Emergency Management Minister, FENZ and police officials will hold a news briefing in about half an hour. You'll be able to watch that live in the video above.

7:45am - Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger earlier told AM the Port Hills fire is just one of many blazes the region has had to deal with this summer. 

He says people need to be vigilant in the hot and dry conditions. 

7:30am - A day on from issuing a stark message to anyone interfering with firefighting efforts, Emergency Management Minister Mark Mitchell doubled down during his earlier interview with AM.

"We ask people to stay away," he says. "Allow our emergency services to get on and do their work and, the great thing is, there was a very good response to that [message yesterday] and people have given them time and space to allow them to get on and do that work."

7:15am - Favourable conditions are forecast for crews fighting the Port Hills fire today, Christchurch City Mayor Phil Mauger tells AM. 

The situation has been described as "calm", with Mauger hoping for a containment of the fire very soon. 

7am - Fire and Emergency has just issued the below update:

Firefighting continues on the Port Hills this morning, with 28 crews being briefed at 6am to take over from the night crews. They will be supported by 15 helicopters dropping water on the fire and two fixed wing aircraft laying fire retardant.

Heavy machinery is also working to strengthen containment lines.

Today's efforts are concentrated on containing the fire as well as the ongoing protection of structures.

Conditions first thing this morning are favourable for firefighting with no wind on the fireground, and an easterly wind forecast from lunchtime.

There will be a meeting for residents at the Halswell Community Centre at 11am and Fire and Emergency's community hub will be open from 8am at the bottom of Worsleys Rd.

The view of the fire grounds on Friday morning from the subdivision of Westmorland.
The view of the fire grounds on Friday morning from the subdivision of Westmorland. Photo credit: Mitch Redman/AM

6:45am - Emergency Management Minister Mark Mitchell is praising the fast actions of authorities in the early hours of the fire.

Without the early interventions, the blaze could've been much worse, Mitchell tells AM.

6:32am - Speaking from near the firegrounds, AM reporter Mitch Redman says the first helicopter of the morning has just taken off to resume firefighting efforts from the air. 

6:30am - Police have joined Fire and Emergency New Zealand's call for photos and videos of the Port Hills fire in its early stages. 

They're particularly interested of any footage taken in the area between 1:30pm and 5pm on Tuesday, police say.

People are being asked for any material to be submitted through

6:15am - Here's what we know this morning:

Fire crews have been working throughout the night - the fire is still not contained.

The focus for Fire and Emergency remains on protecting buildings and strengthening containment lines.

Cordons on Hoon Hay and Early Valley Rds have shifted - allowing some residents to return home - while others have spent a second night at evacuation centres.

The wind has shifted to a southerly direction so smoke will be more visible across the city today.