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Arthur's Pass fire closes highway

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/01/2017

A large fire near Arthur's Pass in the South Island that has closed State Highway 73 is being tackled by five helicopters.

Helicopters were being used because it is too dangerous on the ground.

However, they are making good progress in extinguishing the blaze and the 100 hectare fire, at Mt Horrible near Cass, is likely to be out by midday on Monday, when gail-force winds are due to set in, says the Department of Conservation's Bruce James.

The blaze broke out in the early hours of Monday morning, and fire crews were on the scene shortly after 2am.

SH73, the main road between Christchurch and the West Coast, is closed between Bealey and Cass, but it's likely one lane will be open by 9am.

The fire, on DOC land, isn't threatening property or people.

Some stock were in harm's way but have since been saved, Mr James said.

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