Farmers urged to take extreme care in Nelson fire

Farmers in the Nelson area are being urged to take extreme care as a major fire from Pigeon Valley continues to rage on.

A state of emergency has been declared today for the Nelson-Tasman area, with the blaze covering at least 1870 hectares.

  • Tasman fire: Monster fire leaves paddocks scorched and homes evacuated

Some farmers were forced to shoot some of their stock because the flames were moving too fast to get them to safety.

Those that survived have been left with little grass to eat.

Federated Farmers Board Member and Fire spokesperson Karen William said the situation was fast-moving and residents should be prepared to evacuate.

"It may be heart-breaking having to leave your home and property, but you are ultimately what is valuable," she said.

She is advising farmers to follow some simple guidelines if the fire does make it to animal stocked farmland.

"Opening gates can be problematic as loose stock can be another serious hazard to responders," said Ms William.

"Herd them into wet areas, swamps, even Lucerne or worked (not sprayed paddocks) if practical, but please bear in mind each fire is different and this advice may not be practical for your particular situation."

She understood an evacuation shelter had been set up at a local race course which was taking animals, particularly lifestyle block residents that have small numbers of stock.

Tips to reduce fire risk on farms:

1.Reduce the fire fuels on your property by mowing grass often or removing dead fuels from around your farm.

2.Create a fire break around your property. If possible, maintain green laws and ensure paddocks around your farm buildings and yards are well grazed and not overgrown.

3.Have a water source which can easily be accessed or is portable in the event of a fire or emergency and clearly indicated for emergency crews.

4.Provide clear access to your farm for emergency vehicles if needed, remove overhanging trees and clear driveways if possible. Make sure your RAPID number is displayed in a place that is clearly visible for emergency vehicles.

5.Know the fire risk in your area, know what the current fire dangers are and what the restrictions are in your area. You can do this by visiting

6.Create a fire plan for your family, livestock and assets, so you know what to do if the situation strikes.