The scene from a hill in Brightwater at 8pm tonight. Photo: Andrew Board

Wakefield residents asked to prepare to be evacuated

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Wakefield residents are being asked to prepare for further evacuations as the intensity of the Tasman fire increases due to increased wind and humidity.

“The fire has intensified over the last few hours, the fire continues to move,” Civil Defence says. “As a precaution, we are asking people in the Wakefield area to be prepared should they need to evacuate.”

In the meantime to reduce the risk of property it is asking Wakefield residents do the following:

  • Remove flammable items from around your house. This includes deck furniture and doors mats.
  • Dampen dry areas around the house especially where dry leaves could gather (includes wetting gutters, spraying decks, and making sure gaps are not open under the house)
  • Keep windows closed overnight

It could also be time to:

  • Find any house pets (cats and dogs), bring them inside for the night
  • Leave cellphones on and charged overnight so you can receive alerts
  • Contact neighbours and friends in the Wakefield area and make sure they are prepared
  • If you see spot fires – dial 111 immediately
  • Prepare essential items such as food, clothing and medication to take should you need to evacuate

Police are asking that people keep their phones on tonight should they need to contact them.

There is a probability that a text alert may be sent.

“If this occurs please read these texts carefully as this message will describe if this is a warning or an evacuation.”

If you feel uncomfortable staying in the area please contact Civil Defence on 03 543 8400.

Police will lead any evacuations, and let people know if they need to evacuate.

The Civil Defence Centre at St John’s Church, Wakefield will now remain open. The centre can provide welfare information and help with accommodation for those who need it. They can also accept pets.

All residents who have evacuated or self-evacuated are asked to register. For those who can’t make it to the centre, or don’t need additional assistance please call 03 543 8400 to register by phone.

Work and Income has extra support available for residents affected by the fires. Please call 0800 559 009 for details.

Residents are advised to take animals with them. Some stock can be accommodated at the Richmond Showgrounds.

Horses, sheep and goats can be accommodated in empty stables – use the Campground Gate to the Showgrounds and follow the road to the stable blocks. Please leave your name and contact number on the stable door and provide food for your animals. There is water available on site.

For sheep and cattle – please call the contact centre on 03 543 8400 and we can help make arrangements for you to get access to the racecourse oval to accommodate them.

Earlier, firefighters worked to contain the Pigeon Valley Fire and managed to reduce its size from 1900ha to 1600. However, it wasn’t clear if the fire had now increased in size.

There are now around 100 firefighters on the ground from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, New Zealand Defence Force and the Department of Conservation, as well as heavy machinery operators and air craft crew to contain the fire.

The scene from a hill in Brightwater at 8pm tonight. Photo: Andrew Board
The scene from a hill in Brightwater at 8pm tonight. Photo: Andrew Board