But new technology has given firefighters extra tools in their fight against the blazes.
Selwyn incident controller Mike Grant said this technology was invaluable in identifying and preventing flare-ups. Mr Grant said fires could burn as deep as 1.5m underground. "There is a lot of fire that is burning underground that is not visible to the firefighters. This technology is really helping us to get to this fire."
A firefighter dampens a hotspot in the Port Hills - and drones were used to help spot the potential trouble spots. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church
Full-scale, remote-controlled diggers
Remote-controlled diggers allow drivers to clear hazardous areas without putting themselves in danger. Photo: Supplied / Protranz
Protranz owner Gerad Daldry said the diggers, built to tackle the most dangerous demolitions after the Canterbury earthquakes, offered an obvious safety benefit to the drivers. "If you want to do something extreme, at least there is no one in the digger," Mr Daldry said.
Mr Daldry said the machines working on the Port Hills were contolled by an operator in a helicopter, well away from any danger. The original digger cost $800,000 to build, and Protranz now operated four of them. Mr Daldry said he was developing new technology to help firefighting, including a remote-controlled water cannon.
The remains of the Ohinetahi Bush Reserve after the Port Hills fire. Photo: Supplied