About 200 evacuated valley households still in limbo a week after Tasman fire outbreak

More than 200 households are still in limbo over when they may return home long-term, a week after the Tasman fire broke out.

Two-and-a-half thousand people have been evacuated from more than 1000 properties since the fire broke out, and yesterday residents of the settlement of Wakefield were allowed to return to their homes. They've been told to be prepared to evacuated at short notice if necessary.

Emergency authorities are assessing when more than 200 remaining households of valleys in the area will be allowed to return.

Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence controller Jim Frater said late this afternoon this is not possible at the moment, and the risk of each property is now being assessed

"We've got a large team from Fire and Emergency  New Zealand, police and Civil Defence working on conditional re-entry for the residents of the valleys. This is a much more complex process because these properties have all been affected by the fire, either directly or by its proximity," Mr Frater said.

"A decision to allow residents conditional re-entry is based on risk and safety considerations, including the fire itself, the weather and the ability of emergency services to evacuate people again quickly and safely. So at the moment we cannot confirm when conditional re-entry process for the valley residents will begin," he said. 

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Jacinda Ardern says extending the state of emergency will allow authorities to continue to control the fire.

Specialist teams have begun risk assessment checks for each property, and with about 200 properties to look at individually, it will take "some time", Mr Frater said. 

A helicopter with specialists on board is being used for the checks this evening to speed up the process, he said.

In the meantime, residents will continue to be given restricted access to their properties on a daily basis as long as it's safe to do so, he said.

Residents evacuated from the valleys have been allowed home for two hours a day to tend to their animals, for the past several days.

Fire and Emergency fire controller Trevor Mitchell said the fire still remains uncontained and still has the potential for reburn.

He said firefigjhters had "another good day on the hill" getting through hotspots and increasing the security of the lines created around the fire. 

The state of local emergency in the Nelson-Tasman region was today extended for another week.

Police cordons remain in place at Pigeon Valley, Teapot Valley, Eves Valley, Golden Hills, Redwood Hills and Barton Lane West.

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Civil Defence controller Jim Frater says specialist teams are beginning risk assessment checks for each property. Source: 1 NEWS

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