Approximately 40 police officers from Wellington and Canterbury have been called in to assist with the emergency response to the Nelson scrub fires.

Acting Tasman district commander Inspector Zane Hooper said the additional staff arrived in the area on Wednesday.

"Police have been supporting the emergency response to the fires since Tuesday afternoon, assisting with cordons and evacuations," he said.

"Civil Defence continue to lead the overall response to this emergency and are providing regular updates".

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The additional officers will assist with cordons and mobile patrols to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the wider community, Hooper said.

Members of the public are asked to avoid the fires and residents are being told they are unable to return home to their properties in the interests of safety.

"Police will be conducting mobile patrols overnight and ask that people avoid affected areas unless absolutely necessary," Hooper said.

"Police encourage anyone who has evacuated to register their details with Civil Defence by ringing 03 543 8400.

"Further communication will be provided to the community tomorrow, including a meeting for residents."