NZ fires: authorities mull letting thousands go home

Kyle Mooney and Jasmine Nicholson Mooney with 8-month-old Brooklyn Mooney are trying to stay positive after having to leave their home near Wakefield

Kyle Mooney and Jasmine Nicholson Mooney with 8-month-old Brooklyn Mooney are trying to stay positive after having to leave their home near Wakefield

New Zealand Defence Force firefighters combat the Richmond fire near Nelson, South Island, New Zealand, February 8, 2019.

The fire covers more than 2,300 hectares (5,700 acres) with a 25km (15 mile) perimeter.

Strong winds were expected, and officials warned that Sunday could be a "critical danger point" for the fire.

Hundreds of volunteer and professional firefighters, police, civil defence and military personnel are battling the fires.

Some 3000 people have fled their homes in New Zealand as firefighters struggle to halt the country's largest forest fire in more than half a century.

"I'm anxious about tomorrow, to be honest", Sutton said.

Fire chiefs have warned that the flames could continue until March.

"Our most significant efforts are now focused on a fire front near Wakefield which is moving slowly downslope", Fire and Emergency said. "We've made significant progress", said Sutton.

"There's still an enormous amount of heat there are and there are a lot of unburned areas", he said.

Authorities were working to try to return evacuated residents to their homes on Monday.

New Zealand Red Cross Communications Manager Ellie van Baaren said evacuees were exhausted and frustrated.

"When you have to leave your home and in some cases your livestock and animals and you don't know what's become of them, and you're staying with friends and family, then it's an uncertain situation for everybody", she said. Some livestock has also been moved to safety.

Fires of this size are unusual for New Zealand, with local media calling it the worst bushfire in 50 years.

Authorities have said they believe the original fire was caused by a spark from agricultural machinery.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.