11 Feb 2019

Emotional return for Wakefield evacuees

From Checkpoint, 6:08 pm on 11 February 2019

Wakefield resident Heather Lines said it was "a great relief" to be told she could go back to her home after having had to evacuate because of the fire in the Tasman Region.

Residents were told today by Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence controller Roger Ball they could return to their homes this evening.

Ms Lines fled with her laptop, her birds and a bag full of treasures that were her fathers. And from then was an uncertain wait.

"You can't see what's happening up there," she said of the lack of a vantage point from where she was staying.

She told Checkpoint she had to stay with her granddaughter, which she said was a relief despite the anxiety of not knowing what would happen to her property.

She said hearing she could go back left her overcome with emotion.

"It was a great relief; I almost cried."

She said the response from fire and emergency, police and defence was "amazing".

A policeman had accompanied her to her house the previous day to collect some belongings, despite convoys only supposed to have been going through.

"We're so lucky here," she said.

Although she was keeping her car half packed just case the fire risk increased and the had to again evacuate.

But for now she is looking forward to a restful sleep.

"[I'm most looking forward to] sleeping in my own bed, getting a good night sleep.

"I think we're very lucky to be able to get back."