Port Hills Fire Update: How Your District is Helping

The Council’s Principal Rural Fire Officer Tim Sheppard has been part of the Rural Fire Incident Management Team in charge of the fire effort for the past two days.

20170216 - Port Hills Fire UpdateOur district involvement includes:

  • all 3 of our WDC-owned Volunteer Rural Fire Forces (Waikuku beach, Pines Beach and Swannanoa), plus
  • the commercial forest company’s equivalent force from Sefton, plus
  • our civil defence volunteer rescue team which deployed 2 crews early hours this morning, plus
  • NZ Fire Service crews from Kaiapoi, Woodend and Cust

While there is no clear timeline as to when the fire might be extinguished, such is the magnitude of the crisis it could go on into the weekend and beyond.

Is our district at risk?

Not from the direct impacts of the fire, no. The huge cloud plumes yesterday might be nuisance material, but the health board are saying not a significant health risk.

With so many of our fire-fighters now engaged, we have now declared a “Prohibited Fire Season” over our district until further notice.

Even people who have been issued fire permits are not allowed to light their fires now.

Waimakariri’s future contributions to the fire?

More fire-fighting resources for the immediate future.

Potentially the WDC may be asked at some stage to assist with the civil defence Emergency Operations Centre – Christchurch City Council’s EOC staff and the Canterbury Regional EOC have combined into one coordinating centre in CCC’s building.

The declared state of emergency yesterday was made by the regional office and it applies solely to Christchurch City and Selwyn District.

The civil defence coordinating centre is now looking after everything except fighting the flames. The Rural Fire Incident Management Team we are contributing to continues to spearhead fire-fighting efforts on the ground, reporting to the civil defence coordinating centre.

Do you live in the affected area or have family in there that you are worried about?

If so, follow the advice that the civil defence Emergency Operations Centre has been promulgating vigorously through TV, radio, social media, and the CCC website.

If you know you’re unsafe or you just feel unsafe, get out and go to one of the evacuation centres.