A scream of delight and cheers rang out from Nelson residents when they were
given the all clear to return home after another large blaze had earlier forced them to evacuate.
A total of 97 homes had to be evacuated this afternoon after a fire was reported just before 1.30pm north of Pigeon Valley, where huge wildfires began three weeks ago.
At a media briefing shortly after 6.30pm, authorities confirmed that the blaze — covering about 4ha — had been contained and was no longer moving.
Carol Hulse and Colin Garnett saw smoke billowing near their Moutere home shortly after 2pm.
"We just saw a huge plume of smoke, really dark smoke," Hulse said.
"As soon as we got home we started packing our gear again. We packed it up the last time but didn't actually need to evacuate.
"It was just across the road a little bit, maybe 1km from us."
She said she thought the firefighters must have done a fantastic job to get the fire under control quickly.
Hulse and Garnett had prepared to spend a night with friends, but were very happy to be returning to their home before 9pm.
Five homes on Moutere Highway would remain evacuated tonight as a precautionary measure.
"I feel really sorry for those in Redwoods Valley that had to evacuate for a second time," Hulse said.
Battling the blaze has been a huge effort. Seven helicopters were called out to tackle the fire near the Moutere Highway. A total of 16 fire trucks and two bulldozers were also at the scene.
Firebreaks were bulldozed on three sides of the blaze, while a road provided a firebreak on the fourth side.
Despite the blaze being under control, there was still work to do and crews and machinery on the ground would carry on the effort overnight.
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor earlier said it's not clear whether this was a flare-up from the earlier fire or a secondary fire.
A state of emergency relating to the Pigeon Valley fires had been lifted earlier in the day but authorities had warned the fire risk remained extreme "and a single spark could create a large fire".
Only 14mm of rain has fallen in Nelson over the past two months, MetService said.
MetService meteorologist Rob Kerr said rain clouds are sweeping up the South Island, but the Nelson region will likely miss out.