Nelson bush fire live updates: Police confirm Rabbit Island fire may be suspicious

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern talks about the Nelson bush fires. - Photo: RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King

Police have confirmed the Rabbit Island fire may be suspicious and they are working with fire investigators to determine the cause.

Fire crews have been working continuously to try and contain the large fire in Nelson that broke out on Tuesday afternoon.

Helicopter crews are expected to resume bombing the big bushfire near Nelson with water and chemical retardants today.

Late last night, the fire's perimeter extended 22 kilometres, and it had burned 1900 hectares of pine plantation and bush.

The fire has caused 182 properties to evacuate.

An emergency centre spokesperson said 400 people are affected by the evacuation in the fire which is described as contained, but not under control.

Scroll down for live updates, an information map and the most important information ...


  •   •  Check this map for basic information, but do not rely on it for accuracy if you are in the area

The essentials:

  •   •  Civil defence emergency declared 8am Wednesday by Nelson, Tasman mayors.

  •   •  A community meeting will be held at 9am at the Appleby Rural Fire Station, corner Cotterell Road and SH60.

  •   •  Properties evacuated: At least 182 homes have been confirmed as evacuated.

  •   •  If people evacuate and leave their homes it is asked they register with the Civil Defence Centre at St Johns Church, Edwards St in Wakefield or ring Civil Defence 03 5437290 to register they have moved and are safe. This is important to ensure everyone is accounted for and safe.

  •   •  Road closures / cordons: Pigeon Valley Road at fire station to the last driveway before seal n Dovedale (approx. 381 Dovedale Road), Moutere Highway from Redwood Rd to Waimea West Road intersection, Eves Valley Road, Teapot Road, Golden Hills Road at Moutere Highway intersection, Golden Hills Road at Challies Road intersection, Intersection of Redwood Valley Road and Redwood Valley Lane, Green Acres Road, Mailing Road.

  •   •  Firefighters say it could be up to four days before the fire is extinguished.

  •   •  Dwindling water supplies, wind and drought are adding to problems faced by firefighters.

  •   •  Feel in danger? People who feel in danger should call 111. If you or your family and friends in the affected areas need assistance, contact Nelson Tasman Civil Defence.

  •   •  If you are nearby and safe and would like to share pictures, video, newstips with us, please email it: