South Island's Mt Horrible ablaze

  • 09/01/2017
The fire is likely to succumb to winds later on Monday (file)
The fire is likely to succumb to winds later on Monday (file)

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

Helicopters are being used because it is too dangerous on the ground. They are reportedly making good progress in extinguishing the blaze.

The 100-hectare fire, at Mt Horrible near Cass, is likely to be out by midday on Monday, when gale-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 Department of Conservation land, isn't threatening property or people.

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

Fires have broken out in a number of locations over the past few days. A large scrub fire which tore through 35 hectares in Hawke's Bay on Sunday has been brought to heel, and it took 70 firefighters to put out a blaze in Pipiwai, Northland.

NZN / Newshub.