Most of the country's 450-million-strong workforce in the informal economy have no means of reaching home and staying indoors for the 21 days of shutdown.
Helicopters being used to fight the fire have at times been diverted to douse other flare-ups in New Zealand's South Island, including one on tree- covered hills bordering Nelson city which is home to about 50,000 people.
New Caledonia's civil security agency made no plans to evacuate coastal places immediately.
Red Cross urges international donors to 'put politics aside and recognise the humanitarian crisis in the country'.
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