As fire response crews begin to make positive steps in the containment of Christchurch’s Port Hills fire, fears are beginning to mount about the thousands of rubberneckers who may be left hopeless and with nowhere to go once the flames are finally under control.
Reports are emerging this afternoon that the fires are largely contained, but this may come as grave news for the city’s voyeurs, who have assembled in their hundreds and even thousands in nearby parks and hills over the past few days, in an attempt to get a good view of the chaos.
Many Christchurch rubberneckers were forced to go to back to work this morning, and now fear there won’t be a raging inferno for them to come back to.
“Where am I going to go?” sobbed David Chester, a 42-year-old man who had brought his kids out to the Port Hills two days in a row to watch the fires. “There’s so much less smoke today. I’m going to be left with nothing.”
“You can’t see shit today,” bawled another onlooker, Kirsty McMann. “No fireballs or anything. It feels like I’ve lost everything.”
McMann said she was not consoled by the fact that she and her family were at least safe.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said an abundance of rubberneckers with nowhere to go was a “serious problem” and the Council is mapping out contingency plans to deal with it.
She said Civil Defence were urging any rubberneckers with nowhere to return to tonight to assemble in South Hagley Park, where the Council will be lighting its own fire for them to stare at.
Additionally, they’re encouraging generous residents to light their own controlled fires for rubberneckers to come and watch in their own back yards.
“The last thing we want is these poor, poor people going around lighting their own uncontrolled fires just to satisfy their twisted lust to watch the world literally burn,” she said.
But it may be too late. As of this evening, police are reporting upwards of 40 uncontrolled fires burning throughout the city, as well as several intentional floodings, and people blowing really hard in an attempt to create a hurricane.