Residents spent a nervous night on the edge of the Nelson scrub fire overnight - with reports of looters prowling evacuated areas.
The massive firefighting mission ramps up for day three this morning, with flare-ups visible around the northern edge of the blaze, around Redwood Valley.
Residents of Maisey Rd were evacuated yesterday as the fire threatened to tower over their homes.
One resident said he woke at 3am and went outside to check on the fire when he saw "looters" lurking around.
"I put my spotlight on them and they took off at speed," he said.
Police have brought in extra staff to handle cordons and patrol areas.
More than 100 firefighters have been working through the night to combat the 1900ha blaze.
About 400 people have been evacuated from about 180 homes around the fire.
Nelson Civil Defence controller Roger Ball told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that firefighters have been making good progress.
"They're not describing it yet as contained, but they're working towards that, and that's the plan for today.
"A lot depends on weather conditions and a number of other factors, but the forecast isn't too threatening and we're hoping to make good progress."
Ball said Civil Defence officials would meet with residents at Appleby Fire Station at 9am.
"Our focus today is really to engage with the community. We're starting the process to keep them up to date.
"Obviously people are concerned, they're anxious. We're commencing outbound calling to check in with them."