22 May 2017

Port Hills researchers hope study will help with fire prevention

From Morning Report, 8:40 am on 22 May 2017

Researchers looking at the recovery of the fire-ravaged Port Hills in Christchurch hope their work will help reduce the impact of future fires.

Christchurch fire - Port hills

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The blaze, which broke out in February, was out of control for over a week. It destroyed 11 homes and burnt through several reserves and farmland.

At the Ohinetahi Bush Reserve much of the land remains black and charred, still clearly marking the path which the fire tore through.

For Canterbury University researcher and PhD student Ana Teixeira, the area will be an important focus of her work for the next three years.

Ms Teixeira has set up a number of plots across the fire damaged hills, so she can monitor the re-growth of plant species.

She said in some less severely burnt areas, "the plants are already starting to sprout and recover."

Ms Teixeira said by monitoring growth she would be able to better understand how native and exotic species were affected by fire.

"But also we would like to have some conclusions that could help the recovery and the restoration of the Port Hills here," she said.