A massive Tasman wildfire raging near Nelson has destroyed homes and forced dozens of families to evacuate.
Houses have been lost in two separate areas near Nelson and over 100 homes evacuated. Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence says the fire has spread, and at 11pm on Tuesday night had covered 780 hectares of land, increasing to 1870 hectares overnight.
Fanned by southerly winds over most of the night the fire has caused material damage from Pigeon Valley north to the Inland Moutere Highway and Waimea West Road.
The Tasman-Marlborough Fire Area Facebook page posted this video overnight of the fire front:
As yet, there have been no reported injuries but 12 Fire and Emergency NZ crews have been working around the clock to bring the large fire under control.
Strong winds on Tuesday were “fanning the forest” and creating the “extreme fire behaviour” that consumed such a large area, Civil Defence explains.
“Due to this, crews have not been able to access the forest areas and are instead focusing on controlling the fire when it’s spotted onto grassland,” it explained in a press release.
Current weather forecast sees light winds coming from the north at dawn, a change from the southerly conditions until now. While the temperatures will be lower than recently experienced the wind is expected to build from the north as the day progresses.
Civil Defence urged anyone who feels unsafe to leave their home and go to the emergency centre in Wakefield – there is no need to wait to be told to go – but families should register at the centre so rescuers know they are safe.