Lake Ohau faces long road to recovery after devastating wildfires

Hot spots are still being uncovered one week on from one of the country's worst wildfires at Lake Ohau.

Half of the alpine village's homes were destroyed or damaged as the blaze ripped through over 5000 hectares, annihilating the community.

On Saturday afternoon a public meeting was held to update residents on when they might be able to return.

It was a drizzly, wet day and a very different scene one week on from the devastating wildfires at Lake Ohau.

It could be weeks or months until it's safe to open the town up again. First comes a major clean up, a detailed assessment of the damage and all the infrastructure to be restored.

"Reality has well and truly set in and we're now going through that next step we need to take, mainly with insurance," says Ohau resident Hugh Spiers.

On Sunday afternoon residents arrived into Twizel to a public meeting to thank everyone who helped out over the last week.

On Monday, Fire and Emergency New Zealand will officially hand over to the Waitaki District Council Civil Defence. They also hope to open the road.

"But we will keep patrolling the rest of the fire perimeter making sure that things are alright before we move out completely in the future," says Phil Marsh, from Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

There is also still concern about further flare-ups.

"We had quite a number of hot spots yesterday, far fewer today but there's been a lot of rain throughout today," says Marsh.

The fire was indiscriminate. Some houses in the village are totally destroyed while neighbouring properties remain undamaged.

Residents say the support from around the world has been overwhelming.

"We're just so blessed that Ohau is etched now in a lot of people's hearts," says Spiers.

Fire and Emergency is hopeful this disaster isn't indicative of a bad season ahead but say all New Zealanders need to make themselves a fire plan to get out of wherever they are at a moment's notice.