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Police seek person seen running near latest Tasman fire as vision shows how close it came to houses

Nelson Police are seeking a person seen running in the area of the latest fire in Tasman District yesterday, as new vision shows the blaze came dangerously close to a number of houses.

Fire and Emergency crews are still battling the Moutere Hill blaze which resulted in a number of evacuations, though most have now returned home.

Police say while the cause of the fire is yet to be determined, they are looking to speak to a person seen running down Eban Road, Redwood Valley, around 2pm yesterday. The runner had a dog with them. 

Any members of the public on Eban Road who may have seen this person, or who filmed or took photos of the fire, are being asked to contact Nelson Police on 0800 08 02 19.

1 NEWS video today shows the fire still burning in areas of parched ground and amid patches of green bush and trees.  Houses are close by and machinery is still working to create fire breaks.

The fire comes after the Pigeon Valley fire earlier this month that saw 3,000 people evacuated from Wakefield.

Fire and Emergency's Tasman-Marlborough area commander Grant Haywood says it's been hard work trying to contain the latest fire.

"Oh I think there's been a great effort from our crews. Again, another challenging fire for us to deal with but been a fair bit of work. Crews worked from the start of the fire extensively and haven't stopped, " Mr Haywood told 1 NEWS on the fire ground today.

"All night it was pretty hard yakka for them to actually get in and do a fair bit of the manual firefighting. There's a lot of fire breaks been made through. We've got diggers in there and crews are in there with hand tools having to dig the fire out. It's been hard work."

Chainsaws are being used to remove trees which may be of danger to firefighters, and "we're making more fire breaks to try and contain the fire," he said.

Mr Haywood said there's a misconception among people about the fire danger at present.

"They see green, they think vegetation won't burn. And that's not the case here at all. We're experiencing extremely high to extreme fire weather. 

"The area is in a drought. It's unprecedented for this area. And it's dry. You just have to look at the hills - it's brown, it's mustard it will ignite on us. We have to be careful."

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Fire and Emergency area commander Grant Haywood says it's been hard work trying to contain the Moutere Hill fire. Source: 1 NEWS


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