Cabin destroyed, homes evacuated as large scrub fire burns in Port Hills, Christchurch

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A large fire burning in Christchurch’s Port Hills has destroyed a small cabin and forced the evacuation of homes.

Emergency services were called to the fire just after 11pm on Friday night.

Properties on Avoca Valley Rd and Port Hills Rd were evacuated, police said in a statement about 1am.

In a statement issued about 5.30am, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) Christchurch metro area commander Dave Stackhouse said the fire had burnt through about 15 hectares and a small cabin had been destroyed.

At the height of the fire, 15 appliances and crews were deployed to combat the fire, Stackhouse said.

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“The 50 firefighters on the ground are focusing on protecting structures along Port Hills Road and were working hard to stop the fire from spreading further up the hill.

“There have been partial evacuations along Avoca Valley Road and working alongside Police, we have been liaising with affected residents in the area.”

Nearly a dozen fire crews were responding to the scrub fire overnight.

Meg Falconer/Supplied

Nearly a dozen fire crews were responding to the scrub fire overnight.

Stackhouse said authorities would have a better understanding of the fire at first light.

“We will bring in two helicopters to conduct an aerial survey the fire and assist with ground crews with firefighting and containment,” he said.

At about 6.30am, a FENZ spokesman told Stuff residents from 10 properties evacuated on Port Hills Rd overnight were unable to return home.

However, residents on Avoca Valley Rd could start returning. No further evacuations were planned, the spokesman said.

Christchurch woman Liz Ridder said her husband heard popping sounds “like fireworks”, and looked out the window to see a fire on a hill near a water tank on Friday night.

“The fire was already quite big when he spotted it,” she said.

The couple had heard some “loud explosions” too, she said.

“We are just pleased there is no wind tonight.”

One witness heard popping sounds "like fireworks".

MITCHELL POTTS/Supplied

One witness heard popping sounds “like fireworks”.



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