'Looked like a volcano!' Travellers on sole link to Picton brave hazardous smoke from widespread Hanmer fire

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It's a terrifying sight for drivers travelling between the Lewis Pass and Hanmer Springs as smoke from a large fire quickly created hazardous conditions on what is now the main route between Christchurch and Picton.

Smoke quickly created hazardous conditions for traffic on what is the now main route between Christchurch and Picton.
Source: 1 NEWS

Tinder-dry conditions along State Highway 7 provided ample fuel for eight fires to take hold.

Large flames licked the roadside, quickly leading to the highway being completely cordoned off by police.

Cars were backed up for many kilometres, some waiting over five hours to get through.

Of those there were people needing to attend to their stock and others travelling to catch the Picton ferry. 

The dry scrub saw the blaze rapidly spread along the river.

Eight helicopters, many from the Port Hills fire, were brought in to support the 55 fire fighters on the ground.

Twelve helicopters, 14 ground crews, two bulldozers and a digger are battling eight fires in Hanmer.

All of the fires have been controlled and over half have been contained.  

The large extent of the fire can be seen from footage by Mt Hutt Helicopters. 

Lochiel Station, Marble Point Station, Marble Point Winery and Thrill Seeks have been evacuated.

Huge plumes of smoke were also captured by a Canterbury motorist billowing from a large fire near the Hanmer Springs turn-off which swept to the other side of Lewis Pass Rd.

The fire formed a strip on either side of the road

The fire is on SH7, Lewis Pass Rd, on the Lewis Pass side of the Hanmer Springs turn-off.
Source: 1 NEWS

Traffic backed up for 1km at the cordon point just north of Culverden after large fire

Traffic backed up for 1km at the cordon point just north of Culverden after large fire.

Source: 1 NEWS

Large fire in Lewis Pass

Firefighters called to large fire in Lewis Pass

Source: 1 NEWS

SH7 will be reopened at 8pm tonight.

Road closures and cordons

- A cordon is in place on SH7 at Rotheram Rd South

- A cordon is in place on SH7 at Flintoff - Mouse Point Rd

-A cordon is in place at the intersection of SH7 and SH7A (Hanmer turnoff)

-A cordon is in place at the intersection of Leslie St and River Rd 

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