Lack of water adds pressure as fire fighters battle Nelson blaze

9:00 pm on 6 February 2019

The extreme dry conditions in Tasman and dwindling water supply is adding to the problems facing fire fighters as they battle a huge Nelson bush fire.

The fire burning at Wakefield.

The fire burning at Wakefield. Photo: Jaanvi Harrison

The fire grew to 1870ha within 13 hours overnight, destroying homes and prompting at least 170 houses to be evacuated.

A Civil Defence emergency was declared at 8am by the Nelson and Tasman mayors.

More than 100 homes have been evacuated in Eves Valley, Golden Hills Road, Redwood Valley Road, Mallings Road and Greenacres Road.

It's not known how many homes have been destroyed because the worst-affected areas are still too dangerous to reach.

The 1900ha fire this afternoon remained out of control in an area of the Moutere Basin, and has burnt a large area of forest owned by Tasman Pine Forests.

The Tasman District Council imposed water cuts on homeowners and farmers recently due to the near-drought conditions.

Incident controller Ian Reade said water points in forest areas were replenished last week as a precaution, but getting enough water now was a problem.

"We've also got bin trucks so we used trucks that are used in the grape industry for instance. So we use those as a static water source and then we can cart water to them from wherever we can get water from but yes water is one of our challenges."

MetService said no rain was expected in the region today although locals reported light showers this morning with temperatures cooler than in recent days. The wind was expected to pick up this afternoon.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs