Farmer loses majority of breeding stock in Tasman fire

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Friday, 8 February 2019, 9:23a.m.
The Nelson region is still in the grips of the fire, which grew overnight to cover a total area of 2000 hectares. 

A Tasman farmer has lost the majority of his breeding stock to a bush fire, which has been devastating the region for a number of days. 

The Nelson region is still in the grips of the fire, which grew overnight to cover a total area of 2000 hectares. 

Steve German told Mike Hosking his livestock were caught directly in the fire's path.

"I had all my cattle and sheep grazing up Redwood Valley and that got hit pretty hard on Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning and yeah, it wasn't good."

"I've lost pretty much my whole breeding flock of ewes. I've got 14 left out of 80. There's still a couple pending and I'm just hoping they pull through but she's not good."

Thankfully his cattle, which were in the same paddock as the ewes, were not harmed.

"The cattle weren't touched. They haven't got a mark on them," German said. 

While his land was burnt, he said the firefighters are doing an amazing job.

German, who doesn't have any livestock cover, says he's not sure what will happen next. 

Fire and Emergency incident controller, John Sutton told Mike Hosking the fire burned steadily through the night. 

"The fire didn't give us any respite, it did slow down somewhat as the night cooled off and the wind dropped off...but the fire carried on burning quite actively in a couple of parts."

He said has spread and is now larger than the 1900 hectare area it covered yesterday.  

"The fire grew by approximately 200 hectares late yesterday afternoon so we are now dealing with a total fire area of around 2000 hectares."

All 3000 Wakefield residents were told to prepare to evacuate last night, but Sutton is hopeful they won't have to leave. 

"That was precautionary...let's hope we don't have to instigate that evacuation. It just depends on how kind the wind is to us today." 

He said they have a lot of support and are hoping to contain the fire today.

"We haven't lost any more houses to date...and we are poised and mobilising to get back into it with aircraft, and heavy machinery worked right through the night and will carry on today."

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