Port Hills' worst affected residents to be allowed past cordon

From Morning Report, 8:37 am on 22 February 2017

Residents in the worst-hit area of the Port Hills are being allowed back to their homes this morning.

A house on Worsleys Rd, Christchurch surrounded by singed vegetation. Photo taken February 19 2017

A house on Worsleys Rd, pictured on Sunday. Photo: RNZ / Emile Donovan

The huge blaze across more than 2000ha on the hills above Christchurch was contained last week but crews are still working to make sure hot spots don't flare up. A state of emergency is still in place.

People who live on Worsleys Road will be allowed past cordons at 9am.

A Christchurch resident says she will be in a green oasis among a sea of black when  she returns to her home on Worsleys Road this morning.

Jo Kinley and her neighbours kept in contact as they watched the fire spread across the hills around them last Wednesday.

They fled as flames licked the edges of the top house on Worsleys Road.

As they left they feared the worst for their homes.

"It just looked unbelievable, it was just horrifying so yes we went home thinking we had no home."

In the week since the fire started, her family have been staying with her parents and at a friend's place.

She and her husband have only been able to return for an hour since then.  

"You know I don't think people really understand exactly how that feels.

"To be able to stand on your own backyard, to know that it's still there and that the garden that we've planted for the last 10 years is actually still there; bit of ash everywhere and terrible smell of smoke but still there."

Jo Kinley says today will give neighbours the chance to air out their homes and get insurance assessors in.

Vikki Pflaum and her husband are staying with their eldest son after their property further up the road was reduced to ash and rubble.

They were escorted there on Saturday and Sunday and while she's unlikely to go past the cordon today she's looking forward to catching up with her neighbours soon.

Only residents will be allowed past the cordon when it opens at 9 am with public access restricted until further notice.