Fire closes Inland Rd to Kaikōura

2019-02-05 00:36:18

North Canterbury's Inland Rd has reopened after a fire broke out in the dry countryside.

The fire closed Route 70 between Waiau and Mt Lyford, north Canterbury, on Tuesday morning.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) was called at 8.45am. Crews from Culverden, Waiau, Mt Lyford and Hurunui battled the fire with help from two helicopters, a spokeswoman said.

The fire was about 4 kilometres north of Waiau. It started on a river bank, then jumped the road, the spokeswoman said.

Nearby resident Elise Rutherford said the fire reached her farm boundary after spreading from a neighbour's property across the road.

While it had not reached the farm's paddocks, it had ripped through an area of bush, Rutherford said.

"It's all under control now though, thank goodness."

It comes a day after State Highway 1 south of Christchurch was closed due to a fire believed to have been sparked by a passing train.

The fire on the Inland Rd was about 600 metres north of the Mason River bridge, the Hurunui District Council said in an update posted to Facebook at 10.30am.

A NIWA station in the area was recording a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius with relative humidity of 26 per cent in the hour to 11am.

"That's very dry," MetService duty meteorologist Rob Kerr said.

The northwest wind conditions would change to south-westerlies with possible showers later in the evening – after 10pm in North Canterbury, Kerr said.

Emergency services advised motorists to avoid the area, NZTA said. Route 70, or the Inland Rd, is the only alternative to SH1 to access Kaikōura.

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