Port Hills fire bill reaches $7.9m

8:20 pm on 6 July 2017

The Port Hills fires will cost $7.9 million, but the total bill is expected to increase.

A tractor stands nearly intact after fire raged around this property in the Port Hills

Aftermath of the fires in the Port Hills, Christchurch. Thursday. 16 February 2017 Photo: RNZ/ Brad White

Two fires tore through 2000-hectares of forestry on Christchurch's Port Hills in February this year, destroying 11 homes, and was only tamed after a large-scale firefighting operation.

The $7.9m figure included $2.1m for aircraft costs, as well as $1.7m dollars for rural fire staff.

This would be shared between the Department of Conservation and the Selwyn District Council, although most of the bill was covered by insurance.

Both organisations would pay their own insurance excess of $195,000 each, as well as other non-claimable costs.

The cost for the Christchurch City Council, the Fire Service and Civil Defence was still unclear.

Selwyn mayor Sam Broughton said the costs reflected the significant scale of the firefighting operation.

"It's obviously a lot of money, you never know how much the cost is when the emergency is underway," he said.

But Mr Broughton said it was good to have a handle on the total figure.

"Insurance can be paid, and now people can start getting back on with their life", he said.

The costs broken down

  • Rural Fire Authority personnel: $1,794,081
  • Rural Fire Authority equipment & vehicles: $795,573
  • Contracted firefighting personnel: $568,224
  • Contracted firefighting equipment: $80,882
  • Consumables: $1,000,059
  • Fire retardant: $913,313
  • Heavy machinery: $629,086
  • Aircraft: $2,166,098

Total: $7,947,317

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