Hundreds of Tasman fire evacuees face frustration, uncertainty as fire's fourth day looms

As a major fire continues to rage near Nelson, hundreds of people evacuated from their Tasman homes have gathered today looking for answers.

One fire evacuee, John Frizelle, spoke to 1 NEWS about seeing first-hand the devastation of the fire as he made a brief return to his home.

"So it's burned right up to the workshop, it's taken out part of the paddock, and some of the fences," he said.

Emergency workers were met with praise as they updated residents today – but they also carried bad news for residents anxious to return home.

Civil Defence recovery manager Adrian Humphries said, "The reality is, we should be planning not to get back to your property until tomorrow at the earliest".

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The blaze about 30km from central Nelson is the size of Auckland’s CBD. Source: 1 NEWS

For residents with livestock, frustrations are increasing.

Deer farmer Graeme Sutton said, "I just don't want to walk away and go back and find them all dead in the paddock as I haven't been able to look after them".

One farmer was forced to flee with his horses.

Evacuee Stewart Mitchell said, "The stock seems really happy to be getting moved to, sort of, a safer place out of the smoke, which was really intense".

However, some are worried that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has not done enough to allow for mass animal evacuations.

Animal Evac New Zealand's Steve Glassey said, "I do have some concerns about the animals that have been left behind".

"That raises some questions of their emergency management plans in place, or not in place, specifically for animals."

Forty extra police officers have been brought in to the region today to protect the abandoned properties from looters, but homeowners say the red tape for them to get in to check on their properties and animals is too much.

With fire conditions set to worsen again tomorrow, the comfort of home could still be days away.

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Hundreds are still unsure when they’ll be able to return home. Source: 1 NEWS