Prime Minister visits Port Hills fire

16 Feb 2017

Prime Minister Bill English has flown by helicopter over the Port Hills fire and describes it as "contained".

Prime Minister Bill English has held a press conference after viewing the blaze from the air, saying experts are describing it as "contained but not controlled".

He said there had been a "real sense of danger", particularly on Wednesday, but the fire was now burning in a valley "somewhat away" from properties. 

Bill English has been briefed on the fire

Bill English has been briefed on the fire

Mr English said the cause of the fire is still unknown but investigations are underway.

He said many people had been traumatised as a result of evacuations and damage to their homes. "This is a community that knows how to stick together when things are difficult so we just hope those people continue to have the support that they have, and that they can go back in their homes as soon as that's possible."

English visited the Christchurch command centre on Thursday and expressed confidence in the firefighters and officials who were doing their best to control the blaze.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the first priorities were still to bring the fire under control and to protect the safety of residents and their properties. 

More than 130 firefighters are currently on the ground fighting the Port Hills fire. 

The main activity is in the northern area of the Port Hills, including Hoon Hay Valley Road, Dyers Pass Road and Worsley Road. 

The Fire Service has 40 crews with 45 pumps and tankers and there are 26 rural fire crews with more than 200 personnel. Fourteen helicopters have been in the air, along with three fixed wing aircraft.



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