7 Feb 2019

Nelson fire 'bigger and bigger'

From Morning Report, 7:11 am on 7 February 2019

One house has been destroyed and 182 properties have been evacuated as firefighters work round the clock to contain the huge bush fire near Nelson. It's burnt through nearly 2000 hectares and is being described as the worst to hit the region since a huge forest fire burned through the Maitai Valley in the 1980s. About 40 extra police officers from Wellington and Canterbury have been brought in to help with the emergency response. More aircraft are also arriving today along with teams from the Defence Force and the Department of Conservation. The Prime Minister is also flying in. Fire and Emergency says it seems most likely the fire was started by a spark that came off machinery in Pigeon Valley. It started as a small fire and then became an inferno in an area with a high fire risk and water restrictions - described as tinder dry. One eye witnesss Ray Hawken says it grew quickly into something very scary.