Wildfires continue to burn close to NZ vineyards

Wildfires continue to burn across the northern tip of the South Island in New Zealand, throughout the wine growing region of Nelson, and could do so for weeks, fire chiefs have warned.

Vineyards in Nelson

So far, no significant damage has been done to any vineyards in the region and there have been no casualties, however an estimated 3,000 people have been evacuated from the Wakefield and Pigeon Valley as fire fighters battle to keep the blaze under control.

The Tasman fire covers more than 2,300 hectares (5,700 acres) with a 25km (15 mile) perimeter, according to The Guardian. The fire began last Tuesday, with fire fighters working for the past seven days to contain the blaze, which is expected to rage well into March.

Authorities believe that the fire was caused by a spark from agricultural machinery, with much of the affected area south of Nelson used for forestry, but also home to many small farms.

Bushfires are relatively uncommon in New Zealand, but this is the second significant blaze in two years, the last being in 2017, and follows a heatwave that pushed temperatures in some parts of the country to 30C.

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