The Tasman fire is expected to burn well into next week with the next 48 hours being crucial before it can be controlled.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand regional manager for rural fire John Sutton told a media conference that the fire grew last night by 200ha. It is now up to 2000ha.
He said that there is another 48 hours of “very hard firefighting before we start talking about control”.
“There will be burning into next week.”
He said the conditions were favourable for burning during the night as the fire progressed towards Wakefield.
“The immediate risk is nearby Wakefield.”
Kindergartens, schools and preschools were all closed in Wakefield today.
Firefighters were entering their fifth day of fighting the blaze and John said that fatigue was something they had to manage.
However, with winds being expected to fan the fire from both directions today there would be no let up.
“They are doing a 12-hour shift, it’s arduous and it’s hard work and it’s getting hotter.”
He said there were two structures he knew of that had been destroyed – a home and a shed – but crews worked hard to prevent others from burning.
John said water supplies were holding up with water being taken from swimming pools, dams and reservoirs. Extra fire crews were coming from outside the region today.