Tasman fire: Desperate farmers breach cordons to rescue livestock

Some farmers are breaching emergency cordons to rescue stock as the Nelson fire continues.

Around 400 people have been evacuated from 182 properties in the area, and a state of emergency remains in place. 

Newshub reporter at the scene, Edward O'Driscoll, said some farmers are ignoring warnings to keep away.

"We've heard from people who have breached the cordons to get inside and move their livestock, despite warnings from police, and other emergency services not to do this," he said.

"Some people say the cordon areas so wide and that their homes are nowhere near the fire zone."

He said there is frustration among some farmers that they are standing behind the cordons, with nothing they can do for their livestock.

Some farmers are ignoring warnings from police not to go beyond the cordons.
Some farmers are ignoring warnings from police not to go beyond the cordons. Photo credit: Newshub

Meanwhile Civil Defence said livestock needing to be evacuated due to the Pigeon Valley Fire can be accommodated at the Richmond Showgrounds.

Horses, sheep and goats can be accommodated in empty stables by using the campground gate to the showgrounds and following the road to the stable blocks. 

Those with sheep and cattle should call the contact centre on (03) 543 8400 to help make arrangements.

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 heartbreaking 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."