High winds have forced Civil Defence to stop the remaining Nelson residents going back to their homes in the fire-affected Pigeon Valley today.

Civil Defence group controller Angus McKay said wind gusts of up 81km/h this morning posed too much of a risk to allow people into the area.

"We have been watching weather and wind conditions closely overnight and, together with Fire and Emergency New Zealand, have made the call to suspend restricted access today.

"This also means that planned conditional re-entry for the remaining Pigeon Valley Rd residents, (including Sharp Rd) has been cancelled today.


"The risk of significant flare-ups and our ability to evacuate people at short notice has been the primary consideration behind making this decision," McKay said.

He said police and Defence Force staff would maintain cordons in the area. Fire and Emergency New Zealand staff would monitor the fireground closely and respond to flare-ups and hot spots.

"Those who are already back in their homes are reminded to be vigilant, dial 111 immediately if they see any fire and must remain prepared to evacuate at short notice if required," Fire and Emergency New Zealand Area Commander Grant Haywood said.

Late today Civil Defence said restricted access for Teapot, Eves and Pigeon Valleys will be from 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon.

Civil Defence Controller Jim Frater says the final decision on access to Redwood Valley will be made at 7am tomorrow.

It will be based on assessments and advice from FENZ and Police, relating to the fire and the weather conditions.