Christchurch Port Hills fire: What you need to know

8:15 pm on 15 February 2024
Port Hills fire day 2 - halfway up Worsley Road

A helicopter in action seen from halfway up Worsley Road, inside the cordoned off area, on day two of the Port Hills fire. Photo: RNZ / Charlotte Cook

Evacuation centres and a recovery hub are set up to help residents as the Port Hills fire spreads.

FENZ regional manager Brad Mosby said the fire covered 650 hectares with a 14km perimeter on Thursday. The main fire was around Summit Road and a fire break had been established at Worsley Spur to Dyers Pass Road.

The fire jumped Summit Road on Wednesday night and precautions were being taken at the Adventure Park, including removal of chairlifts, however, it has been confirmed on Thursday morning the fire has spread into the park. There was no damage to infrastructure at the park.

A dwelling appears to have been destroyed by fire.

About 80 Fire and Emergency firefighters and 27 fire appliances were at the scene supported by 14 helicopters and two aircraft dropping retardant.

As well, two bulldozers and a digger are being used in the battle to bring the blaze under control.

Fire investigators are at the scene and the cause of the fire remains unknown.

MetService said gusty north-westerly winds would return on Thursday afternoon along with temperatures in the high 20s forecast.

All road blocks remain in force. A Christchurch City Council map showing the road closures is available here.

A grass fire that was earlier threatening buildings in an industrial area near Rolleston has been brought under control.

Follow RNZ's live blog for all the updates here

Evacuation centres, recovery hub

Residents of Hoon Hay Valley and Early Valley roads can now return home.

A total of 80 properties remain inaccessible. Residents on Worsleys Road, Worsley Spur, Kennedys Bush have been evacuated.

Residents of Worsley Road who need urgent access to their homes will need to go to the community hub at the corner of Worsley and McVicar roads before nightfall.

Evacuation centres are at:

  • Halswell Library and Community Centre.
  • Lincoln Community Centre for people closer to Selwyn.

Residents concerned about livestock or who had left pets or medications at home are able to get information at the recovery hub at the bottom of Worsley Road from 8am on Thursday.

Farmers have been allowed access to the restricted fire area to manage their stock this morning.

As well as Fire and Emergency staff there will also be representatives from Civil Defence, police and other agencies there.

A briefing for evacuated residents was held on Thursday morning at the Halswell Community Centre.

State of Emergency

A State of Local Emergency was declared for Christchurch City (which includes Banks Peninsula) and Selwyn District on Wednesday.

"The declaration means we are better able to coordinate our response across all the various agencies involved, and will mean we can get assistance to where it's most needed. It also means the local controller can evacuate people or restrict access to affected areas as required," Christchurch mayor Phil Mauger said.


Christchurch's mayor Phil Mauger is warning residents not to breach police cordons around the Port Hills fire.

He said people should not enter the cordon without emergency services' approval.

A public health warning for smoke from the fire was issued on Wednesday by Te Whatu Ora.

Medical Officer of Health Matt Reid said exposure to smoke can worsen pre-existing health conditions, including heart and lung disease.

The smoke could also cause coughing, shortness of breath or eye, nose and throat irritation for pregnant, young or elderly people.

People were advised to stay inside, restrict outdoor exercise, switch air-conditioning to recirculate, and keep pets inside.

Anyone feeling anxious could contact Healthline on 0800 611 116.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation warned inhaling smoke could worsen conditions like asthma as tiny particles entered the throat and lungs, causing irritation.

Medical director Dr James Fingleton said it could trigger flare ups and lead to people being hospitalised.

"It's imperative for everyone to recognise these risks, understand how to manage them, and actively reduce their exposure," he said.

He advised sufferers going outside to wear a N-95 or KN-95 mask, and keep their reliever inhaler close.

People were being urged to stay away and not fly drones anywhere near the blaze because the helicopters would need to be grounded.

Second blaze in Selwyn District

Firefighters have brought a second fire that was threatening buildings south of Christchurch under control.

The grass fire was reported shortly before 9am near Rolleston in the Selwyn District.

Eight trucks attended and crews were "mopping" up the scene about 11am.

Waka Kotahi said earlier smoke was reducing visibility on State Highway 1, north of Rolleston, between the intersections with Berketts Road and Robinsons Road.

Pictures wanted

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Police received a report of a fire on Worsley's Track about 2.15pm on Wednesday.

FENZ was asking anyone with photographs or videos of the Port Hills taken between 1.45pm and 2.45pm on Wednesday to email them to with your name and contact details, the exact time you took the photo or footage, and where you were.

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