Fire fighting continues in Christchurch

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Although the fires appear to be finished, fire fighters and helicopters are still working on the Port Hills. There are still hot spots which could flare up if the wind becomes strong again. There has been no rain for several days. A few showers are possible tomorrow but the fire officers say that at least 50mm of rain in one day is needed. That is not likely in the next few days.

Planes are using infrared cameras to identify hot spots. Then firefighters often have to dig up the roots of the trees to find where the fire is still smouldering. Helicopters are dropping 90 tonnes of water on hot spots every hour.

Meanwhile the road from Governors Bay over the Port Hills is closed. Christchurch people are not allowed to drive up to have a look at the damage. Tracks on the hills are closed for mountain bikers and walkers.

Although most people have been allowed home again, some houses have no water as pipes were burnt. Many houses smell of smoke.

It could take another four weeks before the fires are completely out.

Vocabulary

• hot spots – small areas where there is fire under the ground
• flare up – start burning again
• showers – brief rain, not continuous rain
• not likely – not probable
• infrared cameras – also called thermal imaging, they can find hidden heat
• dig – with a spade
• smouldering – burning but no flame; usually there is smoke
• the fire is out – no longer burning






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