Monday, April 22, 2024

Firefighting efforts continue on Port Hills

Firefighting efforts on the Port Hills continue, with the focus on eliminating hotspots and strengthening the containment lines, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) has confirmed this morning.

FENZ Incident Controller, Steve Kennedy says a specialist drone team carried out thermal imaging overnight and identified a further 30 hotspots that crews are targeting today.

Mr Kennedy says the intention is to strengthen any vulnerable points around the perimeter and continue extinguishing deep seated fires in several old forestry skid sites before the wind strengthens this afternoon.

He said today has been flagged as a high fire danger day across Canterbury due to the windy and hot conditions, which means any new fires will move very quickly and be hard to bring under control.

“We have the resources to respond to multiple incidents, but we’re asking everyone to do their part to prevent any more fires starting,” said Mr Kennedy.

“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 generate 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

Te Whatu Ora Health NZ is also urging caution for residents who are sensitive to smoke – such as those with heart or lung conditions, people who are pregnant, young children and the elderly.

They may experience symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath or eye, nose and throat irritation, the health authority said.

“People affected by the smoke should close windows and doors and reduce outdoor exercise. If you see or smell smoke outside, you should stay inside if it is safe to do so,” Health NZ said in a statement.

Remember to:

  • Keep your windows and doors shut
  • Switch your air conditioning to ‘recirculate’
  • Air out your house when the smoke clears
  • Look out for children, older people, and others at risk
  • Keep pets inside with clean water and food. Keep pets’ bedding inside if possible.

Latest Articles