Cherie Howie tells of charred properties and disrupted lives as the battle goes on.

It's been more than a week since a spark flickered to flame and then all-out fire last Tuesday, racing up a tinder-dry Pigeon Valley hill, 30km south of Nelson, and then much, much further.

By Monday New Zealand's largest forest fire since 1955 had blackened 2300ha and still had a perimeter of 25km.

The flames had taken one home, forced about 3000 people from others across a handful of valleys and in the Waimea Plains settlement of Wakefield, and was the focus of thousands of hours of collective toil by 150 firefighters from the far north to the deep south,

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