Eighty people are trapped in Mt Cook Village as a large scrub fire burns out of control.
The blaze flared up on a Twizel riverbed and spread into a large forest area on Mt Cook Rd/State Highway 80 late on Sunday morning. Locals fear the fire could last for days.
So far, one home has been destroyed and high winds are pushing the fire straight towards other properties. Those properties have all been evacuated and a hunter is said to have received burns.
Twizel Police Senior Constable Les Andrew said it's believed the blaze was started by a camp cooker blowing over in the wind.
Fourteen helicopters and two planes with monsoon buckets took turns filling up from nearby Lake Pukaki to help douse the flames.
"Ground crews can't fight this because the bush is just too thick. They can't get to it," Snr Const Andrews said.
The 80 people in Mt Cook Village are unable to leave because road closures are blocking their only way out.
St John has treated a hunter with burn injuries as well as firefighters with smoke inhalation. Crews were battling to get the fire under control before sundown.
"It is making it tricky because the wind is changing as well," Snr Const Andrews said.
Nightfall will mean air crews are grounded, leaving the blaze to run its course.