Information for people returning home

What to do and how to prepare for re-evacuation when you are allowed back to your house

When returning home please consider the following:

  • Check if alarms and security systems are working
  • Clean gutters and spouting for ash
  • Check your landline, electricity, power etc, and report any issues to your provider
  • Use a torch to help you inspect your home
  • Contact your insurance company and take photos if there is any damage
  • Please look out for your neighbours, especially the elderly, those in ill-health, and those who live alone.

Drinking water contamination information

If you are on a Tasman District Council (TDC) reticulated water supply and are returning to evacuated areas, the Wakefield, Redwoods and Hope/Brightwater reticulated water supplies are all currently operational.

If you are on a roof water tank supply, any ash and debris that may have been deposited on your roof from the fire should be removed, and the first flush of water following the next rainfall should not be collected. Re-connection of the tank should only occur after the roof area has been checked and cleared.

If material has been washed into the tank in sufficient quantities to affect smell, taste or appearance of rainwater, do not drink the water.

Rainwater in tanks that have not been affected by ash and debris, and has no taint or odour can still be used for normal purposes.

For more Public health advice see the Nelson Marlborough Health website https://www.nmdhb.govt.nz/nmdhb-news-and-notices/pigeon-valley-forest-fire-update/ 

Food safety

Take care when returning home as food items may have spoiled. Check use-by dates and make sure cans and packaging are not damaged. Throw away any items that are not in good condition.

What to take

Be aware that if the evacuation order is given while you are away from home you may not be able to return to collect your possessions. For this reason, you may want to keep some items in your vehicle.

Useful items to take include

  • First aid kit and essential medicines
  • Essential items for infants or young children such as formula and food, nappies and a favourite toy
  • Any special needs such as hearing aids and spare batteries, glasses or mobility aids
  • Clothes for 3-5 days
  • Food
  • Toiletries
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Pets and pet supplies
  • Torch and radio with spare batteries.

Include important documents in your getaway kit

  • Identification – birth and marriage certificates, driver’s licences and passports
  • Financial documents - e.g. insurance policies and mortgage information
  • Precious family photos

Advice from Police

Please take normal security precautions for your property should you need to evacuate. This includes locking doors, shutting windows, activating alarms and securing any valuable items that you are leaving behind.

Health and well-being advice and services

Visit the DHB website

 Go to the DHB’s website for the most recent public health information about:

  • Where to get healthcare
  • Mental health resources
  • Drinking water safety
  • Smoke exposure advice

Civil Defence Support

In the event of an evacuation, NZ Police and all CDEM online platforms will be updated with civil defence centre details. This will also be distributed via text messaging and if you are unsure, please call the council contact centre who will provide you information. 

Tasman District Council 03 543 8400 

Nelson City Council 03 546 0200