Helicopters, multiple fire crews responding to large Santoft, Bulls inferno, building under threat

Seven helicopters are responding to a large forest fire south of Whanganui.

The inferno is raging near Santoft and Bulls - between Whanganui and Palmerston North - and is not yet contained, Fire and Emergency NZ confirmed to Newshub. It is threatening a forestry block called Santoft Forest and a Farmland Foods factory. The factory has been evacuated as a precaution.

Three water tanks and 11 fire crews have been called to the scene, while the helicopters are assessing the fire's size.

It is estimated to be about 30 hectares, but that number could change.

There are two fronts - one on Brandon Hall Rd and a second on Pukepapa Rd.

Video sent to Newshub shows a large plume of grey smoke in the sky. A witness told Newshub he had seen about five fire trucks heading towards a fire north of Palmerston North. 

The public is being asked to stay clear of the area. There are no initial reports of injury.