3,000 evacuated from New Zealand fire could soon return home




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New Zealand authorities are hoping most of the 3,000 people evacuated from wildfire-threatened homes will be able to return Monday evening.

Firefighters have gained the upper hand over the fire thanks to favorable weather conditions. The forest fire began nearly a week ago on the South Island and burned 2,300 hectares (5,700 acres). It burned down one house.

The fire was threatening the town of Wakefield, prompting evacuations there since Friday.

Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence incident controller Roger Ball told media Monday they would decide if some residents could return this evening.

Ball said some residents who lived in valleys close to the fire would not yet be able to return home.

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