New Zealand wildfires show no sign of easing, 3,000 flee

Nelson Tasman Civil Defence group controller Roger Ball addresses the briefing this morning

Roger Ball addresses the media conference this morning

New Zealand is seeing a spate of wildfires across its South Island which has forced thousands of residents to flee their homes.

Helicopters drop water on a wildfire coming over a ridge near a residential area, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Wakefield, New Zealand. The forest fire began almost a week ago on the South Island and burned 2,300 hectares (5,700 acres).

"There is some concern about predicted high winds this afternoon, which are expected to test the control lines", the agency said earlier.

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"While I'm immensely relieved there's been no loss of life and want to thank all of those involved in tackling this enormous fire, it's clear there are going to be some hard times ahead until we get the fire fully under control and people back to their homes", she said.

The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni has commended the efforts of everyone involved in tackling New Zealand's largest bush fire in decades.

More people were likely to be forced from their homes on Sunday.

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The New Zealand Red Cross communications manager Ellie van Baaren said evacuees were exhausted and frustrated.

Firefighters "turned a corner" in fighting the Tasman blaze on Sunday night, after working for seven days to contain the fire, which started last Tuesday.

The bushfire remains unpredictable and state of emergency remains in place and emergency officials are not ruling out more evacuations. If you or your family and friends in the affected areas need assistance, contact Nelson Tasman Civil Defence.

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Hundreds of volunteer and professional firefighters, police, civil defence and military personnel are battling the fires.

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