Port Hills state of emergency lifted

The state of emergency in place since fire started tearing through hundreds of hectares of forest and scrub on Christchurch's Port Hills was lifted at 1pm on Wednesday.

Canterbury Civil Defence group controller Richard Ball said at a media conference on Wednesday authorities will now transition to a "recovery phase".

Crews on the ground at the Port Hills will spend Wednesday dampening 20 hotspots where the fire risk remains high. 

Incident Controller Dave Key said 70 firefighters were at the scene. On Tuesday night drone footage identified 20 hotspots and firefighters will work on turning over and extinguishing these today.

Crews on the ground will spend today dampening hotspots. Photo: Newsline
Crews on the ground will spend today dampening hotspots. Photo: Newsline
Key said the conditions today are good for firefighting but higher temperatures are forecast this weekend.

He said people must stay aware of the risk and any hot or spark-generating work, including mowing the lawns, should be done earlier in the day when it is cooler.

Key said no helicopters or aircraft are assisting on Wednesday.

Fire and Emergency NZ area commander Colin Russell said on Wednesday they are scaling back their work, with all helicopters and aircraft grounded on Tuesday.

He said they aim to clear all hotspots before handing the fireground back to landowners.

Russell said Fenz is also assessing restrictions on access to the areas surrounding the fire, with cordons at Early Valley lifted on Tuesday.

The fire started on February 14 and quickly grew to about 650ha.

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger today thanked residents who were evacuated as a result of the fire last week, acknowledging the disruption and anxiety the fire brought to their lives, somer for a second time after blazes seven years ago.

Meanwhile, Waipara residents returned home on Monday after a 300ha blaze was brought under control.

-With RNZ