State of emergency in the Tasman region extended for another week
The State of Civil Emergency in the Tasman region has been extended for another week as authorities continue to deal with the large bush fires.
Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne and Fire and Emergency Tasman Marlborough area commander Grant Haywood in Nelson after the blaze started earlier in February. Photo: RNZ/ Rebekah Parsons-King
Mayor Richard Kempthorne has made the decision, saying: "The situation still requires a greater response than we could manage without all the assistance of the other agencies.
"We currently still have 250 people evacuated from their homes and there are over 3500 who are in a continuous state of alert, prepared to evacuate again at short notice."
Mr Kempthorne made the decision after discussions with Fire and Emergency, police, the Civil Defence Controller and other agencies involved in the response to the Tasman fires.
A statement from Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence said all agencies were "very aware" of the fact people had been out of their homes for two weeks.
"This is leading to anxiety and stress, not to mention the economic impact on many."
Controller Roger Ball said: "Everyone has been actively planning for the day when we can allow residents to return home for more than a few hours.
"That involves a continuous assessment of risks, including the fire, the weather and the ability of our emergency services and Defence Force personnel to get people out safely and quickly if the situation deteriorates.
"I am very pleased to say that we are working towards a conditional re-entry for the residents of Teapot, Eves and Redwood Valleys from Thursday morning.
"This will be on the same basis as the other returned residents - that they remain ready to evacuate again at very short notice.
"Getting these valley residents back to their properties is more complex than when we were able to get the Wakefield residents home.
"The Redwood, Teapot and Eves Valleys have all been directly affected by the fire.
"We will be offering a detailed briefing for the valley residents at tomorrow evening's community meeting at the Hope Community Church, and I encourage as many as possible to attend this."
A community meeting will be held at 6pm tomorrow at the Hope Community Church in Ranzau Rd to discuss health and safety information for anyone returning home.
It will also be live streamed on the Nelson Tasman Civil Defence Facebook page.