No rain in sight for fire-ravaged area near Nelson after more than 170 homes were evacuated

That wraps up our live coverage of the fires in the Nelson area. Any updates on this story through the night will be on the 1 NEWS homepage.

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    1 NEWS meteorologist Dan Corbett has this weather update. Source: 1 NEWS

    What we know:

    • The massive fire started in a forestry area in Nelson shortly after 2pm yesterday.
    • At the last estimate the fire was 1870 hectares, with a perimeter of 20km.
    • Civic Defence declared a state of emergency in the Nelson – Tasman region due to the fire in Pigeon Valley.
    • Several houses are believed to have been lost in Redwood Valley and Eve Valley and more than 170 homes evacuated

    (Note: These are new live updates, for our earlier updates of the fire situation click here)

    8:15pm - Due to the Pigeon Valley fire, school bus pickup points are changing.

    Redwood Valley / Redwood Lane, Malling Road & Greenacres Road: The bus will pick up at each of the intersections with the Moutere Highway.

    Teapot Valley and Eves Valley: The bus will pick up at each of the intersections with Waimea West road.

    Pigeon Valley: The bus will pick you up at the Wakefield Village Green.

    Pick up times will remain as normal.

    7:45pm - Anyone with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or any other lung disease is advised to stay indoors and keep their windows closed to avoid smoke inhalation. 

    The Nelson Marlborough Health website also recommends turning off air conditioning and heat pumps.

    6:35pm - 1 NEWS reporter Kaitlin Ruddock says helicopters will be grounded at 9pm tonight. Heavy machinery will be used tonight to make fire breaks on Rabbit Island.

    6:30pm - The Rabbit Island fire, which covers an area of nine hectares, is partially contained but will be monitored overnight, a spokesperson has told 1 NEWS. Fire crews will send in heavy machinery tomorrow morning.

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      A state of emergency is in place for the Nelson-Tasman region due to the Pigeon Valley blaze. Source: 1 NEWS

      6:20pm - There will be no respite for firefighters, with 1 NEWS weather presenter Dan Corbett saying at best, there will only be a few millimetres of rain in the Nelson area over the coming days.

      6:00pm - A Tasman Emergency Management spokesperson has told 1 NEWS that everyone on Rabbit Island, about 200 people, have been evacuated.

      There were between 30 and 40 vehicles on Rabbit Island, all of which have since left and only two houses both of which have been evacuated.

      5:10pm - An RNZAF Hercules has recently arrived at Nelson Airport. The aircart is bringing NZDF reinforcements including seven firefighters and three fire trucks to support the response to the fire.

      The RNZAF Hercules arriving at Nelson Airport. Source: Nelson Airport

      Source: Nelson Airport.

      5:00pm - Farming equipment reportedly started the Pigeon Valley fire, according to Stuff.

      4:35pm - Fire and Emergency NZ Tasman area commander Grant Haywood would not discuss what had caused the fires, saying that information would be for the coming days once an investigation had taken place.

      4:20pm - The wind is starting to pick up in Nelson as Fire and Emergency NZ Tasman area commander Grant Haywood told media a short time ago that this size of fire had "not been seen in decades".

      "Talking to our colleagues within our rural sector, they’re saying at the moment this is probably the equivalent to the fires in the early (19)80s in the Maitai area," he told media.

      4:05pm - The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending seven firefighters and three fire trucks to support the emergency response to the Nelson wildfire.

      Brigadier Jim Bliss, the Land Component Commander, said four firefighters and two fire trucks from Linton Military Camp had been deployed to Nelson this afternoon.

      Three more firefighters and a fire truck are also being dispatched from RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

      Air Commodore Tim Walshe, the Air Component Commander, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 Hercules aircraft en route to Auckland from Christchurch had been diverted to Wellington to pick up personnel from Fire and Emergency New Zealand and New Zealand Police and fly them to Nelson this afternoon.

      3:52pm - It has confirmed that 92 people are currently battling the various blazes in the Nelson area.

      Civil Defence posted this graphic estimating the extent of the Pigeon Valley Fire as at 3pm. Source: 1 NEWS

      3:40pm - Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi told media a short time ago that the fire was 1900 hectares in total. He paid tribute to fire crews for saving a number of homes that were just metres away from the fire.

      3:38pm - A Fire and Emergency spokesperson told 1 News around a dozen firefighters are at the scene of the fire on Rabbit Island