Fire crews are making “steady progress” in fighting the Lee Valley fire near Nelson, aiming to have it fully contained by the end of tomorrow.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) incident controller Steve Trigg said that conditions for firefighting have been favourable today with light winds in the area. The fireground has been more accurately mapped today, covering around nine hectares of pine forestry.
Excavators continue making firebreaks to combat the fire.
There have been no reports of damage to structures.
Specialist forestry silviculture and firefighting crews are on the ground, using thermal imaging equipment to identify hotspots and tackling each one with hand tools and hoses. A command unit is also on site and continuously staffed.
Residents of 11 evacuated homes would be able to have managed access to their properties, while continuing to stay in alternative accommodation overnight, a FENZ spokesperson said.
“This will enable them to take care of stock and carry out other essential tasks.
“Once the fire is contained, Fire and Emergency plans to assist residents return to their homes in a restricted capacity, such as lowered speed limits, escorted and resident-only access while fire operations are still underway.”
Trigg stressed that private drones must not be flown anywhere near the Lee Valley, to prevent helicopters having to be grounded to avoid the risk of a mid-air collision.
The cause of the fire is still to be determined.