DEIMOS-2 captured Christchurch’s Port Hills, in New Zealand, before and after the wildfire that ripped through about 2000 hectares last week.
The fire began with two different blazes on the afternoon of February 13: the first one in Lansdowne on Early Valley Road, and a second one that started in a car park near Marleys Hill, off Summit Road. Two days later, on February 15, both had combined to one large area, a state of emergency was declared and about 450 houses were evacuated. Civil Defence’s Christchurch controller, John Mackie, described it as “beyond anything we’ve ever had to deal with”.
According to the last online updates from the Christchurch City Council, most of the fire is now under control, the last major cordon for residents has been lifted and most evacuees returned home. Nevertheless, a state of emergency is still in place and fire services are continuing operations due to the risk of flare ups with warmer weather forecast.
Vegetation appears red in these DEIMOS-2 false-color images which were processed including the near-infrared channel. Different shades of red provide crucial information on chlorophyll content and plants health. The dark area visible in the image from February 20 reveals the extent of the fire devastation, which was just about 6 km from Christchurch’s city center.