Fire & Emergency New Zealand

Waikari Valley and Port Hills Fires Update

Waikari Valley and Port Hills Fires Update

Firefighters finished their last shift on the Waikari Valley fireground today and the land has been handed back to the owners.

Incident Commander Des Irving says that the crews extinguished the last of the hotspots that the drone crew had found with thermal imaging.

He thanked all the volunteer firefighters who had been working hard over the last few days, often on steep terrain. He also thanked the local community around the fireground for their support.

At the Port Hills fireground, firefighters extinguished most of the remaining hotspots today. Three crews will be working overnight, and the drone crew will continue their thermal imaging flights.

The weather is expected to be dry and windy over the next few days, and particularly on Saturday, so the fire danger is still high. Des Irving is asking people to remember the total fire ban in Canterbury north of the Rakaia River and to ring 111 at the first sign of smoke.

Any fire that started under the current conditions would spread quickly and be hard for crews to put out so Fire and Emergency is asking everyone to do their part to prevent any more fires starting. This means avoiding high-risk activities that generate sparks, or waiting until the coolest part of the day.

High-risk activities include:

  • Using equipment that generates sparks, or where blades can strike a stone and cause a spark (eg welders, grinders, mowers, chainsaws)
  • Parking vehicles in long grass – hot exhausts can start a fire.