Police are supporting the return of evacuated Wakefield residents.
The residential areas of Wakefield will remain closed to everyone except residents until 7am tomorrow morning.
Sate Highway 6 will have reduced speed limits through the Wakefield township area until at least 7am tomorrow.
SH 6 is now open without restriction, but to help facilitate the return of residents we ask that those people who don’t have essential reasons for travelling through this part of SH 6 to stay away.
Acting Tasman District Commander Zane Hooper says this re-entry plan will lead to traffic congestion and we ask for people’s patience, however we know how motivated people are to return to their properties.
"Police and the NZDF will maintain a high visibility presence overnight in the Wakefield area at key locations and we will be monitoring access to residential streets.
"As part of this monitoring, our staff may stop and seek further information from you as to why you are in the area.
'The civil defence emergency prevails.
'The Wakefield Police Station is open from now throught until 4pm tomorrow.
"We ask anybody who returns to their property who requires a non-urgent police response to make your report to the Wakefield police station.
"Any situation that is an emergency dial 111.
"The fire situation and risk of re-evacuation prevails.
"We are balancing the challenge of keeping the community safe, while allowing them to return to their properties as soon as possible.
"We ask people to not be complacent and that they are returning to an area that is now in a state of Be Prepared to Evacuate.
"This state of Prepare to Evacuate means that at any time until further notice, you may need to re evacuate your property under urgency."
Due to the prepare-to -evacuate status, vulnerable residents who were evacuated early by St John’s will NOT be able to return to the Wakefield area this evening.
Further contact from the Nelson Marlborough DHB has been made directly with those affected.
Please also be advised that properties that were evacuated have been marked with spraypaint on the windows.
These marks were put on properties to ensure emergency services were satisfied the property was evacuated, and are easily removable with a razor blade or paint scraper.
The process for re evacuation of Wakefield, if this is required in the future, is as follows:
• A national media release will be issued and the Civil Defence website will be updated
• An EMS text message will be sent out to the affected area.
• The Wakefield fire station siren will sound continuously.
• Police vehicles will move into the area and their sirens will sound continuously.
• Police, NZDF and USAR staff will move into the area and commence going door to door to confirm residents have evacuated.
"On hearing the evacuate signals, we would ask residents to leave the area in an orderly and timely manner," says Zane.
"Any decision to evacuate will allow residents sufficient time to gather their pets, pre packed personal items, and leave the area."