Information for people returning home

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

Stay prepared to evacuate

The decision to allow residents home does not mean the fire is out, nor is it controlled. There is still an extreme fire risk for the whole region.  Because of this, residents must remain prepared to evacuate.

The decision for residents to return home is an individual decision and some may choose not to return at this point. If Wakefield is to be evacuated, you will be notified about any evacuation the following ways:

  • Wakefield Fire Station siren will sound continually, along with any other emergency service vehicles within the area.
  • Residents will receive a text message advising of an evacuation. Please keep your phone on and charged

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. Reconnection 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 


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.
If a subsequent evacuation is required:

• Listen out for fire station sirens and sirens from emergency service vehicles in the area.
• Keep your mobile phone on, within reach and charged. An Emergency Mobile Alert advising
of evacuation will be sent to compatible smartphones.


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 wellbeing 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

Animal welfare

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is the lead agency for animal welfare in emergencies.

  • If you are required to evacuate again, please take your pets with you as you leave your
  • property.
  • If you have stock and can’t move them, please ensure they have plenty of food and water
  • and shelter and open all farm gates within your property.
  • If you leave the area we advise that you take your pets with you in case the area is
  • evacuated while you are away.
  • If you have any requests for help in regards to the welfare of your animals, please call MPI
  • on 0800 008 333 (option 4).

Prohibition on fire and activities

There is a total fire ban in place: this means no fires are allowed. Activities that may cause a spark, or that involve hot equipment such as chainsaws, are prohibited. If you think there might be even a small risk from an activity, please don’t do it.

More information and an example list of activities can be found here

For businesses wanting to apply for an exemption please fill in the below form:

Civil Defence Support

Civil Defence Centre, Richmond 

The Civil Defence Centre at the Richmond New Life Church, 85 Wensley Road, Richmond will be open from 10 am to 4 pm daily this week. Civil Defence and Red Cross staff will be available to discuss the support (financial, health, welfare) that is available to you if you have been affected by the fire.

Community drop-in meeting

When: Wednesday 20 February, (6pm).

Where: Hope Community Church

There will be a community drop-in meeting at Hope Community Church, Ranzau Road on
Wednesday 20 February, (6pm). Fire and Emergency NZ staff and staff from other
agencies will be on hand to give an update about the status of the fire.